Month: September 2015

To Make Your Mind Comfortable, You Just Need to Discover These Two Things

By Orgyen Chowang Rinpoche Knowing how to work with your mind and how to make your mind comfortable are the most important things you can do for yourself and others. To make your mind comfortable, you just need to discover two things—that your mind is innately pristine and healthy, and that thoughts and emotions are not who you are, but just mental events. That’s all you really need to know. Once you understand that your mind is innately pristine, and that thoughts and emotions are merely mental events, it completely changes the picture of how you relate to your mind and how you experience life. This is the real solution. This is the source of happiness and enlightenment. With this knowledge you can solve any challenges you face. Once you recognize that your mind is innately pristine, then with meditation you can maintain that awareness more and more. As you do so, your thoughts, emotions, and other mental events gradually become less powerful and your mind becomes more comfortable. I refer to this natural state …

Floral Notes and Bardo: This Time with Eva

This time with Eva — like an eternal elder-child, opening gates into wonder.  Each moment, a world.  Each mountain face — a face, or else, something else.  See with your heart, and trust what you see, but not too much.  Not solidifying. Play, leisure, quality, compassion — aspects of the Way.  Tea, fungus, imagination and fantasy. An old friend that I have finally met. Refreshing, resonant, reverent and yet entirely alive.  So sure and yet mysterious. I feel like my family has expanded. I’ve gotten good advice.  Met a worthy person willing to guide me.  I have more than one, and so am extraordinarily blessed. Eva — teaching on balance.  The four aspects of our lives: Spirit, Private, Domestic, Public. Yes. This is what I’ve been trying to articulate and organize for myself for a long time.  What I’ve been asking every teacher I’ve met about, and all have had very partial answers.  She teaches on this, and it resonates.  Yes. The first encounter with Eastern wisdom in my life was Tao Te Ching.  And I kept …

Floral Notes and Bardo: New Roomie, Autumn Beauty

I’ll be late getting out the door this morning, but I’m going to write.  I’ll inhale my oatmeal while I slip on my shoes.  I’m past due for a shower but I’ll stink for a bit longer.  The ink will hit the page. We welcomed our friend Erik into our house last night — new roommate.  Still no decent place to excrete waste, but we’re working on that. An impromptu ceremony to usher in the new household.  Four of us gathered around the table, each with a representation of the different elements in front of us — water, earth, fire, wind.  Erik with a fan in front of his face, blowing, myself a little glass of water, Kambrie with some stones and palo santo smoking from a dish, Heather with a candle flickering.  Heather with a faux fur cloak and delightful grin.  Heather in her element — small group of people engaging in playful, creative activity. The ceremony was improvisational and opened into segment after segment: goofy chanting, sincere aspiration, funny hand slapping game, howls, …

Floral Notes and Bardo: Soothing Shifts

Pesky flies and mice of mind, rich tea, blazing, devastating, haunting sunrise, depression — a dark patch within splendor.  Summer falling away, moaning, the crisp speckles of autumn appearing like feather-touch in the leaves, the aspens, fall. Soothing few, after far too many. Group laughter, swaying conversation, intimate, around the picnic table last night.  A home run meal turned out by Adam and the crew — veggie burgers, potato wedges, Brussels sprouts, fish for the fish-eaters, big old acorn squash, hummus on the salad bar, crumbled tofu, and… oh, big, huge, warm, gooey brownies.  I gathered a heaping plate for the table and we chowed down. So drastically different, all of a sudden.  And a nice big shipment of Dong Ding tea arrived in the mail yesterday.  Quite good! Heather and I made reservations to stay at a sheep-farm-winery in a cute little room previously used for farm workers.  Turns out the annual Harvest Festival will be taking place that weekend in some small valley a few hundred miles away from this one. Soothing shifts. …

Appreciating the “Extra-Special” Harvest Moon Eclipse — Sept. 27, 2015

  By Andrea Schweitzer ~~~ The full moon of September is often called the Harvest Moon. This month our full moon will be extra-special. The Sun, Earth and Moon will be in alignment. When this happens, the Moon moves through the Earth’s shadow and a lunar eclipse is visible from Earth. On average, we see lunar eclipses about once every two and a half years. When the Moon moves completely within the Earth’s shadow, it is called a total lunar eclipse (as opposed to a partial eclipse). During a total lunar eclipse, some of the light from the Sun still reaches the Moon, but is filtered through the Earth’s atmosphere giving the light reflecting off the Moon a reddish cast. (This is the same phenomenon that makes a sunset red.) Currently there are wildfires creating smoke and dust in the atmosphere, especially in the western United States. While it is unhealthy to have so much smoke in the air, more particles in the air enhance this effect, making it likely that the Moon will appear …

Floral Notes and Bardo: The Path is Under Your Heels

Colorful strokes, executed by a master, adorning my wall.  Gentle, Kaz.  Such contrast to my recent frenzy of complaint and hiding.  The little mice freaked me out so bad that Heather became frightened.  So, that was a big flashing sign. I spent the weekend wading through murky mind, within a program.  I took a slow, non-ambitious, maybe just a bit lazy, approach.  Feeling so depressed.  Leaning into it (as they say), indulging it.  Feeling like it would be too contrived, and take too much effort, to try to shake myself into a different state of mind.  I’ve received practices for that, but my priority was (is?) authenticity.  Authenticity seemed to mean: pissy, victimized, aloof.  And so I went along with all that, with some awareness around the whole thing — that it was a dead end, or downward would eventually bring some kind of tragedy. Kaz Tanahashi, so peaceful, and authentic.  Peaceful, and authentic. I was enjoying my cynicism.  Like I finally didn’t care to the extent that I could just express.  Like other people, …

Learn About SMC Rental Spaces

Did you know that SMC rents its spaces to outside groups for workshops and retreats? We host a variety of religious and spiritual groups, as well as schools, universities, non-profits, businesses, and more! We provide a unique setting where groups can come together to connect in retreat, surrounded by the beauty of the natural world and removed from distractions and speed. If there’s anyone you know who may be interested please share and check out this video of our program spaces! To inquire about rental opportunities, please contact: rentals@shambhalamountain.org Click Here to Learn More about Renting a Space at SMC

Floral Notes and Bardo: Tripping Jester

What does Shambhala need?  A court jester. I’m working now, with the team, on our next online conference.  And it occurs to me that I mock, internally, anything which seems to take itself too seriously.  For example, the “mindfulness movement.”  I think that mindfulness is helpful, and so is irreverence. ~~~ Dickie, and the pile of Bio Solids. Big topic at the community meeting yesterday.  We don’t have to drain the lagoon, which is habitat for hundreds, and used to be a poo hole. ~~~ SMC.  The: void, desolation.  Deprived of: entertainment, comfort — which is good.  Naked. Good for humans to access that, drop into that.  But, for a contained period — not as a way to live. I think, in these modern times. ~~~ (I DONT WANT TO WORK ON THIS!!!!!! I WANT TO PLAY WITH THAT GUITAR OVER THERE FOR HOURS!!!!!!!!) ~~~ Sense of humor for survival. Family now and so not worried about being kicked out for my dissenting opinions, cynicism, etc. The wild way to bring about Shambhala Vision. (Ed: …

Floral Notes and Bardo: A Light Seed Grain (a secret message)

I didn’t come here to complain — although as I just rested my hand on my desk for a moment, a mouse turd stuck to my pinky.  My house is infested.  They are cute.  I am territorial. ALWAYS MAINTAIN ONLY A JOYFUL MIND The little hassles are encouragement to practice the dharma — as I’ve been saying, out loud now, so that I might shift a bit, and then a bit more, towards a more accomodating and — oh, really — joyful experience of living in the world. Okay, you mice!  Your turds are like pellets of cosmic medicine which purify my grouchy karma.  They are packed full of compassion.  If I develop the proper digestive enzymes via meditation practice and study of the holy texts, I will awaken fully and you will benefit as well.  Are you awake already?  Are you my personal little bodhisattva teachers? Bug. Dad’s dharma: “Shit happens.” No shit. Yesterday I went by my mailbox and found a funny envelope with my name on the outside, in red ink, and …

Floral Notes and Bardo: Doubt and No Sense of Wavering

Sense of ease is so low, sense of hassle so high, effort to treat it all as path… is daunting.  Seems contrived, but really I’m just too lazy.  I feel like reality is a gang of woodpeckers and I’m a unwilling tree.  I blame samsara.  I blame SMC.  I blame myself most of all, and I realize that all that blame is useless (but I carry on without doing anything useful with that realization). I had a beautiful weekend with friends. We rented a space in Denver and relaxed, went to Phish concerts, ate yummy food.  A lot of ease and joy, space.  I was able to meditate a lot, and also hang out, goof off.  Perfect.  I swung ecstatically in the sunshine, on a swing-set.  I had the thought that life is a swing-set.  Then a gaggle of geese chased my friend. Yesterday I made it back to the mountain and declared a full, wonderful, delicious day of rest before heading back to work.  It was Labor Day.  I had everything set up: home …