Month: January 2015

Floral Notes and Bardo: Yesterday, Sitting Beside Sensei

Floral Notes and Bardo: The Creative Chronicles of a Shambhala Mountain Resident is a regular feature on the SMC blog in which a member of our staff/community shares his experience of existing as part of Shambhala Mountain Center. Yesterday, sitting beside Sensei… As she introduced Ikebana to the students from Chapman University, from LA, who are here for a week to immerse in Shambhala culture in a program called “Ancient Wisdom: Modern Madness,” which we’ve been hosting here for 25 years. Sensei is musical in everything that she does; floral. Her speech, throughout the hour long talk — which touched on Japanese culture, Tao, Heaven, Earth, Humanity, flowers, flowers, branches, sticks and stones, meditation, avante garde, and more — was fluid. She told me afterwards that she used to be too shy and nervous to even make an announcement that lunch was ready. That quality of nervousness, she said, is gone. “It’s gone.” After the talk, my friend Noel remarked: “Sometimes I think that they shipped her in from another dimension.” “She’s floral,” I said. In …

Floral Notes and Bardo: I’d Rather Be Practicing

Floral Notes and Bardo: The Creative Chronicles of a Shambhala Mountain Resident is a regular feature on the SMC blog in which a member of our staff/community shares his experience of existing as part of Shambhala Mountain Center. “Maybe buns are just plumper nubs.” That’s what Heather just said. Lately I’ve been picking up the bass and playing around.  Yesterday, Will, who lives in the next room over, who probably hears me playing, who is part of this third floor lodge musical awakening, requested that I give him some recordings so that he could work on them in post-production.  He wants to master my stuff…  Convenient! So, lots of encouragement to play and produce. Meanwhile, Jesse the awesome veggie cook offered Cinnimin Bun transmissio last night.  So, a group of people gathered in the kitchen and they all learned how to make the buns.  This morning, Heather and I reaped the rewards. Yummy, warm buns. So many activities like that — community fun variety.  I haven’t been participating in many, because it feels like too much. …

Floral Notes and Bardo: Strangely Apparent

Floral Notes and Bardo: The Creative Chronicles of a Shambhala Mountain Resident is a regular feature on the SMC blog in which a member of our staff/community shares his experience of existing as part of Shambhala Mountain Center. Every imagined finger and face appears to be life on a sphere in clear space Last night we sat in a circle and acknowledged the ambiguity of our existence.  We looked at each other and objects in the room, and asked, out loud, about how it is that we are perceiving such things, and why it is that we seem to be individuals even though none of us can come up with a definite proof of separateness. It’s strange. It is said that we’re all here together, experiencing a similar world, because we all share a deep habit of imagining the world to be this certain way — much different than the way that fishes imagine the world. So… here we are. And… here we are. Finally, we acknowledged that there is a lot to explore and called …

Floral Notes and Bardo: Be Befuddled or Change

Floral Notes and Bardo: The Creative Chronicles of a Shambhala Mountain Resident is a regular feature on the SMC blog in which a member of our staff/community shares his experience of existing as part of Shambhala Mountain Center. Guitar music is floating out from the room across the hall.  It enters through the vent in the bathroom, and also seeps through the door, and the wall. I’ve been hanging out with the acoustic bass that Dorian gave me, and singing all over the place.  My art is not quite a discipline these days, but it’s very much part of life.  It’s a joy, and it’s very easy. Joshua encouraged me to be a minstrel.  He said if he ran this place he’d pay someone to just walk around all day and play music — maybe a clarinet or guitar. I asked him about finding time for dharma study and music.  He said: “Study, and then play what you studied.” Funny… I’ve been doing that — taking a phrase from the text and then singing it all …

Floral Notes and Bardo: Blobs of Impossible Tar and Joy

By Travis Newbill Floral Notes and Bardo: The Creative Chronicles of a Shambhala Mountain Resident is a regular feature on the SMC blog in which a member of our staff/community shares his experience of existing as part of Shambhala Mountain Center. The appearance of muddy terrain — my toes have been squishing around, and there seems to be broken glass and blobs of impossible tar and joy mixed in. It’s been a “glitchy” few days.  That’s Heather’s word. Technology on the fritz, wave-like moods, trouble concentrating, odd dreams, surprise interruptions of all sorts.  Me thinks that Dön Season is upon us! I’ve been doing alright, rolling with it.  Trying to keep my mouth shut when it may well spew forth subtle toxins. On another note — such a nice note, series of notes — art has been arising all over the place.  Conversations with artist friends, spontaneous jams, piano music pouring out into the hallway in the lodge.  And, I’ve blocked off some time in the morning to get into some music. Last night, while Heather …

Floral Notes and Bardo: Blabbering Universe

By Travis Newbill Floral Notes and Bardo: The Creative Chronicles of a Shambhala Mountain Resident is a regular 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’s a lot that could be said about the voice. Pictured: Lake Shunyata We’re studying the Progressive Stages of Meditation on Emptiness.  At this first stage, the Shravaka stage, we’re investigating our experience in search of a separate, independent, lasting “self.” In my meditation I indulged and played with the voice that was articulating — internally, somehow — the teachings on no-self that I had the intention to contemplate. I wanted the voice to say these things about the five skandhas, form, feeling, and so on, and the voice obliged.  The voice says whatever I want it to say.  So I had the voice say all sorts of things to make sure this was the case.  The voice sounds like the voice that my body produces out of my mouth when I wish to speak. …

Qigong for the Seasons: Spring Relates to the Wood Phase

By Ron Davis Photo by Greg Smith The following has been adapted from “Qigong Through The Seasons – How to Stay Healthy all Year Long with Qigong, Meditation, Diet and Herbs” by Dr. Ronald Davis, published by Singing Dragon, 2015. Spring is the Wood Phase This is a heady, invigorating, sometimes disturbing season with wild fluctuations of energy surging throughout nature as birth, arousal, and movement. The momentum created by spring Qi gives structure and impetus to the world: young trees thrusting skyward, icy rivers flooding valleys, babies everywhere screeching with the joy of life. In humans, Qi rises like a slow tide coming up from its winter storage in the lower abdomen and moving into the chest where it stimulates the Liver with fresh vitality. As an infusion of energy, the rising Qi carries benefits as well as the potential for problems. The practice of Spring Qigong centers on using qigong exercises, foods, herbs, and meditation to nourish the Liver. In this class, you will learn how the Liver Network influences anger, kindness, communication, …

Floral Notes and Bardo: Eight of Us, Fine Tea, Jazz (and Later Dub)

By Travis Newbill Floral Notes and Bardo: The Creative Chronicles of a Shambhala Mountain Resident is a regular feature on the SMC blog in which a member of our staff/community shares his experience of existing as part of Shambhala Mountain Center. Reflective ribbons on a passing train, a small one, which runs on imagined tracks through my forest hometown — a bit of a town — a bit of an echo, over and over, and the humble drummer plays along. We had a lovely gathering at the Nubble Nest on Saturday afternoon — eight of us, fine tea, jazz (and later dub) through the small speakers, and small booklets full of big wishes.  Some frustration because it’s not always so easy to have big dreams. We reflected on 2014 and looked ahead to 2015.  It was fun, though I didn’t go too deep.  I was enjoying pouring tea, and I made a quik ikebana (Greg Smith calls it “quikebana”) with some flowers that Anna brought over.  I ate plenty of chocolate and I made some aspirations …