Month: July 2014

Thoughts Are Not the Enemy

By Jason Siff Jason Siff will be leading Thoughts are not the Enemy: An Introduction to Recollective Awareness Meditation at Shambhala Mountain Center from August 29–September 1.  We spend much of our time with our thoughts. The thinking mind will not just turn itself off, become empty and still, once we start meditating. In fact, trying to stop thoughts, or empty the mind, may actually produce more tension and stress around thinking, while fully allowing thinking into meditation may paradoxically lead to peace and tranquillity. But this can only be known through one’s experience. If you like, you can try out these instructions: • Sit in a comfortable posture • Close your eyes and bring your attention to your hands touching, one on top of the other, or resting on your thighs. •  Be aware of the external contact of your hands touching, but do not hold your attention there—just come back to it on occasion. • Allow your thoughts and emotions into the meditation sitting. Be kind to your thinking mind. Let yourself think the thoughts, be carried …

Floral Notes and Bardo: Squirm, Squirm, Leap

By Travis Newbill Floral Notes and Bardo: The Creative Chronicles of a Shambhala Mountain Resident is a daily feature on the SMC blog in which a member of our staff/community shares his experience of existing as part of Shambhala Mountain Center. There is no escaping the collective here.  The buzz in my skull is a shared reverberation.  There is internal and external chatter, and calm. This is the shrine in my yurt: Through my comical aversion to Kasungship, I’m recognizing my inclination towards maintaining my bubble.  I have an agenda.  I’ve been so worked up about things. I decided to plant myself for a day this past weekend.  A 24 hour retreat, to settle.  I went to the Stupa early in the morning, to be alone, in peace.  There were already people there.  I practiced for a while. I ate breakfast by myself in an aspen grove.  I made a sign and clipped it on my shirt: “Noble Silence,” indicating that I would rather not engage in conversation with anyone.  The noble silence badge is common …

Floral Notes and Bardo: Explore Bananas

By Travis Newbill Floral Notes and Bardo: The Creative Chronicles of a Shambhala Mountain Resident is a daily feature on the SMC blog in which a member of our staff/community shares his experience of existing as part of Shambhala Mountain Center. Cody is beaming, going to Rainbow gathering. Last week sitting on a bench in the sun, with Heather, a few days after I’d decided not to attend Kasung Encampment, Cody approached and introduced the idea of me going along with him to the Gathering. “Hippe Encampment,” Heather remarked. Exactly. The idea appealed to me because it was so funny, but what I really need to is settle. “The seasons are not theoretical here.” Acharya Lyon said that a while ago, and it haunts me, in a funny way.  Summer is bananas.  There are so many people here and so much going on.  It’s really impossible to keep track, challenging to keep in touch.  It’s a buzzing hive. ~~~ I slept a bit last night, after spending beautiful time with Heather.  This morning, rainbows on our …

I Love You!

By Sue Frederick Sue Frederick is the author of Bridges to Heaven: True Stories of Loved Ones on the Other Side and I See Your Dream Job.  She will be leading Bridges to Heaven: Grief Healing Workshop, July 18-20. Thank you, fear, for being such a powerful teacher, for waking me at night with heart tremors, for unplugging me from my source, for taking on the illusion of bills to pay, children to provide for, a husband dying of cancer, and terrifying self doubt. Such magnificent lessons! God bless you, fear, for getting my attention more than everything, more than anyone, more than love, more than joy. You found me when no one else could. You sought me out, pushed me into corners, made me weep, made me angry, and broke me in half. Finally, fear, you broke me wide open… And for that moment of total surrender to the divine, I am deeply grateful. Only then did I embrace my soul again and step fully into the light – refusing to ever go back into your dungeon, refusing to …

Jason Siff Discusses Recollective Awareness Meditation

Jason Siff leads Thoughts are not the Enemy: An Introduction to Recollective Awareness Meditation, August 29–September 1. To learn more, please click here Jason Siff was a Buddhist monk in Sri Lanka in the 1980s when he started developing Recollective Awareness Meditation. In 1996, he co-founded the Skillful Meditation Project and has been a full-time meditation teacher since then. He also trains teachers in Recollective Awareness Meditation in retreats throughout the U.S., Canada and Australia. His first book on meditation, Unlearning Meditation: What to do when the instructions get in the way, was published by Shambhala Publications in 2010. Recently, he took some time to discuss Recollective Awareness Meditation and his upcoming retreat at Shambhala Mountain Center.  

Floral Notes and Bardo: Until I Sing

By Travis Newbill Floral Notes and Bardo: The Creative Chronicles of a Shambhala Mountain Resident is a daily feature on the SMC blog in which a member of our staff/community shares his experience of existing as part of Shambhala Mountain Center. Mental combustion in the middle of the night, fuming while the mist hung cool over the peaks in the morning.  Soft, and myself, dense — until I sang. Last night a mime appeared at dinner.  Then we held a Sukhavati ceremony for distant friend.  As the ceremony was beginning, a tremendous thunderstorm rolled in.  Hail came pouring down onto the shrine tent.  Acharya couldn’t speak over the noise, so we paused.  We sat while the storm raged.  Then, continued the ceremony. Afterwards, I realized that my shoes were soaked.  I walked barefoot on little balls of hail and dirt trail beside Acharya and we enjoyed how the whole thing had unfolded. I woke up the in middle of the night, angry, resentful of my commitment to Kasungship. Basically: I have to devote hours of my …

Floral Notes and Bardo: Musical Self, Peachy

By Travis Newbill Floral Notes and Bardo: The Creative Chronicles of a Shambhala Mountain Resident is a daily feature on the SMC blog in which a member of our staff/community shares his experience of existing as part of Shambhala Mountain Center. Heavy clouds, a bit of rain — like sitting on a bench and reading dharma.  Then, cooler and calm. ~~~ I like to sit in this chair, in “my” “front yard” (yurt yard). I felt so dense yesterday, edgy.  Almost vicious.  Critical.  Arrogant.  Even with reminders all around me that gentleness is the way… how to shift?  Finally before dinner, I walked into the Japanese garden behind Sacred Studies Hall and read some teachings — reminder.  The result was that I felt less vicious. The world became almost entertaining.  Non-threatening.  I’ve noticed myself comparing myself to others recently, and feeling less-together, less-clean, less-vibrant. I sat down at the dinner table and Heather asked: “How’s your head?” “Stuffy.” “How’s your heart?” “…” “How’s your heart?” “…soft.” “Like a marshmallow?” “Like a peach.” And Kate, across the table, …