Month: August 2015

Floral Notes and Bardo: When Breeze Tickles Frowny Cheeks

Night before last, a mountain lion, a bear, and a bull moose were spotted — walking into a bar. And then the moose said to the mountain lion: “We are not at a bar. We are at SMC.  And the people are gonna be freaked.” And so, much of our community meeting yesterday was devoted to talking about the wildlife sightings.  And then all sorts of people offered their non-expert opinions about what one should do if they encounter a bear, or a lion, or whatever.  Director Gayner ensured us that we would do whatever we need to do to be safe.  Maybe get a hundred air-horns so that each of us can carry one around, so that we can scare away the animals if they seem like they’re going to mess with us. In the marketing trailer, we’re having secret meetings discussing the next online event.  It feels special to be a part of the whole thing.  There is a lot of structural business-genius propelling it as well as genuine love and inspiration to …

Floral Notes and Bardo: Death of: Friend, Ideals, Gums

We were going to spend five days with mad oneironaut LaBerge and bardo man Holecek, but then were swayed by the death.  The first night of the program though, just before a peek into the strange world that would be opened up over the course of the retreat, I had a look in the mirror and noticed that my gums had worn away a lot since the last time that I looked.  Unsettling.  And so I sat with that dreadful feeling of death while LaBerge danced around the room, exclaiming about the dreamlike nature of our experience, with a fierce image of Guru Rinpoche on the television screen in the center of the room. Holececk is a dentist, as well as concert pianist and Buddhist teacher, so I figured I could ask him about my teeth at some point.  Yesterday, I realized I hadn’t had the chance, and that all the Dream Yoga people were leaving the land.  I made a wish that I might see him, and then, looked up and he was there. …

Floral Notes and Bardo: Shatter, Sore, Swelter

A phrase which rolls off the tongue and rumbles our marrow: Suicide in the community. A knock on the door from Tseten early in the morning, alerting us: emergency community meeting, 9:30.  I guessed: fire evacuation (again).  No… People in tears — heavy, heavy.  Slowly, in the meeting, what had occurred was revealed. Together we rode the first wave of the process.  Helpful teachers and mentors who were on the land for ESA were present, fortunately.  Acharya Lobel, Kathy Tolstrup, Greth Patterson. Teachers, chaplains, helping to hold us, helping us to hold ourselves, and to embrace the emptiness — cannot hold anything. As we went around the room, sharing, it dug in deeper.  Set in like a sweltering fog. Afterwards, Heather and I spent the day together up at the house — making art, talking, laying on the rug, more art, ikebana, more talking.  A long healthy day.  In the evening, another community gathering.  So much question, soreness. We’re all along for a big murky ride.  We’re doing it well, I feel.  As a community, …

Floral Notes and Bardo: Occasional Showers

Big old family visit — blood family, mixing with land family.  A whole week of eventfulness, with gaps.  Such eventfulness these days.  So many gaps I refuse, deny, ignore. ~~~ This picture above is of Jake.  He barks at me ferociously every chance he gets.  He and his family live in the walls. ~~~ Life here in the cabin: peeing in a cup, carrying water jug up the long hill in the shiny new car — some weird American version of life: undeveloped in ways — such as no toilet, no sink (in the house) and yet, shiny new car.  Not carrying jug on my head, not even lugging it up in the back of a junky pick-up.  Drinking fine tea in the morning, imported from Taiwan.  Here on the computer, typing, looking out at the timeless mountainside.  Pardon me, time to pee in my cup and dump it out the window. Heather pees in a bucket.  She hasn’t peed one single time yet today.  I’ve probably peed about seven times since waking two and …

Reclaiming Prajna

By Jamie Woodworth It’s a widely agreed upon sentiment, among both newcomers and veteran Shambhalians, that this mountain valley has a quality of spaciousness beyond its physical boundaries. It opens up and unfolds more and more as you walk upon it. The feeling is palpable in the wind, and the life—always at play—gregariously engaging. The place has “juice.” You can feel that presence when you first enter. It’s the drala. It converses with you in the moments you experience in-between yourself and the world. It’s awakened by the people who live here, over many cycles of leadership and life. And, if you follow your intuition, your felt sense of this place, you may be guided towards the place we call Prajna. Early photograph of Prajna before remodels done by the Vajra Regent and Sakyong Mipham — provided by Greg Smith. Prajna translates roughly as “transcendental wisdom.” The spirit of that word abides in the history of this site. Prajna was the home of the founder of Shambhala, Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche until 1986, then home of …

Floral Notes and Bardo: Summertime Qqueeze

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 living as part of Shambhala Mountain Center. My room is full of flies, I’m surrounded by strangers, I’ve not showered in two days.  I missed breakfast.  We’ve been asked to not ask to go into the kitchen to fetch leftovers anymore.  I meditated for too long this morning and now I’m stressed out.  Gonna be late to work.  No shower again.  Gotta take the shit out to the shit bucket.  Later drive it down the hill. Decided to hang out last night. Phish shows in headphones in the forest behind Manjushri house.  Surrendering to summer-time craziness on the land.  Not a time for introspection.  A time for scattered activity and “hanging in there” and/or maybe “hanging out.”  Not much pacing or rhythmic progress. Been reading Ethan’s new book and listening to the Phish shows —  Good. Haven’t been writing the blog because — no time in the morning …