Author: smcblog

Beyond Suffering

Beyond Suffering: At Home In Yourself (Part 2)

By Blake D. Bauer // Through consistently living with our awareness focused on what is true in this moment, we empower ourselves to illuminate everything that is not honest, loving or healthy for us. Over time we’re able to identify the self-destructive thoughts and habits that keep us running from or not caring for ourselves. By making the choice to focus our consciousness on how we feel now, we’re empowered to bring a loving presence deep into our being, which is the only way to transform whatever is currently sabotaging our health, happiness or capacity to connect authentically now. Through relating to ourselves with this degree of kindness and honesty, we eventually realize that the inner freedom we’re seeking is already available right here in this very moment. It is simply accessible to the degree that we speak and act based on our true feelings, needs and desires today. Beyond liberating ourselves from the vicious cycles of feeling held back by the past or being worried about the future, through coming home to our breathing …

Cultivate Love and Compassion With Your Partner

By Ben Cohen, Ph.D. // A question I often ask couples that I work with in counseling is: “How do you want to act toward your partner?”. I’ll have them write a list of adjectives to describe this, and of course, what people usually say are things like: Loving, patient, compassionate, caring, giving, supportive, etc. I’ve never had anyone say: angry, critical, blaming, and attacking! And yet, the latter is how we often act with the person we most need to act kindly toward. Thich Nhat Hanh speaks beautifully about the need to “cultivate” positive aspects of ourselves, and to engage in loving behavior. He often uses the metaphor of “seeds”: When you water the seeds of anger in yourself (or your partner), that is what will grow. If, on the other hand, you water the seeds of love and compassion, then that is what will grow and flourish. Which would you choose? We can use meditation as a time to water those seeds of compassion: “Breathing in, I feel love” “Breathing out, I feel …


The Power of Curiosity at Work

By Gayle Van Gils Do you ever wonder how it is possible to foster greater happiness in the workplace? If so, that’s a great sign! Curiosity opens us – it is a cousin to love and an antidote to fear. When we are fearful we close our minds to new possibilities and perspectives. Curiosity opens the door to new ways of being, experiencing and communicating. It is a harbinger of greater happiness. How can we cultivate more curiosity in our lives? We can re-awaken the “not-knowing” openness we had as children. Distortions, personal biases, cultural views, habits and fear all limit our ability to connect directly with what is happening and what is being communicated. Fortunately, the practice of mindfulness and the resulting awareness of limiting beliefs opens the door to a powerful antidote to these afflictions: curiosity! As Albert Einstein said of his accomplishments, “I have no particular talents, I am only passionately curious.” Curiosity starts with choosing to be present. This increase of awareness is an incremental process that you can notice even …

Susan Piver Interviews Marcella Friel About Women, Food, and Forgiveness

Susan Piver and Marcella Friel are colleagues in the field of teaching mediation, and also long-time friends.  In fact, Marcella was one of Susan’s first meditation instructors!  Here they discuss Marcella’s work of guiding women into healthier relationships with food.  The conversation explores the importance of forgiveness, the benefits of Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), Marcella’s personal history of how she came into this work, and what people can expect when attending a retreat with Marcela. Join Marcella Friel for Women, Food, & Forgiveness: The Heroine’s Journey, May 2–6, 2018 at Shambhala Mountain Center — click here to learn more About the Author Marcella Friel passionately promotes healing foods, authentic beauty and personal transformation. Having cooked and taught in premier meditation and healing centers across North America since 1994, Marcella now runs Tapping with Marcella, a food and body image coaching practice that uses EFT to help health-conscious adults love and forgive themselves, their bodies and their food. // For more from Marcella Friel on the SMC Blog, click here  

Love and Heal Your Inner Child

By Blake D. Bauer // In every real man a child is hidden that wants to play. — Friedrich Nietzsche The term ‘wounded inner child’ typically refers to the emotional pain experienced during childhood that currently remains unhealed within us. The reason it’s optimal to address this topic is because our psychological and emotional wounds from childhood are directly connected to the situations and relationships that are currently full of victimhood and blame. In order to love and heal ourselves fully, we subconsciously create experiences in the present that mirror experiences from our past, often from childhood, so we can (1) transform the associated pain that is still stored within us and (2) learn the important lessons necessary to fulfill our life’s purpose and awaken spiritually. If we have not fully healed a past experience or period that was painful or confusing, then we will instinctually create situations in the present that reflect back to us the unresolved emotions from the original incident(s), ultimately so we can make peace with our past, care for ourselves …

Katharine Kaufman

The Architecture of Love

By Katharine Kaufman // “Living things must disappear, everyone you meet inevitably splits.” — from the Butsu Yuikyôgyô (Jp.) or Buddha’s Last Admonitions Sutra* After Trungpa Rinpoche died Joshua Mulder was asked to care of Rinpoche’s relics. Joshua, along with many, designs and builds the Die Zauberflöte of Stupas. A stupa is a mound of rocks to serve as a home for bones, ashes; a cairn that tells me where to go next on the path I am walking on, especially if it’s foggy or for whatever reason I can’t see ahead. The stupa is a body— my body, the body of the Dharma. A place to practice, and in my case, a place to get warm. January. If the cover of my New Yorker magazine is any indication of what’s to come, it’s going to be a tough month. At Shambhala Mountain Center Joshua leads us up the path to the Great Stupa of Dharmakaya, pausing to remind us to open our senses to the phenomenal world. Damaris, my friend from Oregon, says every time …

Mindful Eating

[Video] You Can Heal Your Broken Relationship with Food

By Marcella Friel // If you are a woman who struggles with food, have you ever wondered why your restrictive diet regimens routinely leave you worse off than when you started? There’s a core piece of the healing puzzle that those diet plans never touch. *** In this video, food and body image coach Marcella Friel shares with Mimi Valiulis, Dean of Online Studies at Shambhala Online, success stories of women who went way beyond the dieting trap to liberate their food patterns once and for all.   About the Author Marcella Friel passionately promotes healing foods, authentic beauty and personal transformation. Having cooked and taught in premier meditation and healing centers across North America since 1994, Marcella now runs Tapping with Marcella, a food and body image coaching practice that uses EFT to help health-conscious adults love and forgive themselves, their bodies and their food. // For more from Marcella Friel on the SMC Blog, click here

Mindful Work

4 Proven Ways to Awaken Purpose at Work

By Zach Mercurio // There’s no shortage of advice telling us we need to find purpose in our jobs. And for good reason—having a sense of purpose at work can increase both engagement and fulfillment. In our personal lives, a sense of purpose can even help us sleep better, feel healthier, and live longer. Yet while it’s clear purpose is important, it’s less clear how to discover it without taking expensive purpose surveys, quitting our sometimes mundane jobs, or making drastic career changes. But there is hope for everyday people in everyday jobs to discover purpose and reap its benefits. Over the last few years, I’ve been lucky enough to work with people who do our society’s necessary and repetitive work—people like janitors, bus drivers, and mechanics. And I’ve learned two critical lessons: 1.) There is a compelling purpose in every job, and 2.) There are research-backed actions we can take to uncover it. Here’s how to start. 1. Stop trying to “find” your why. One of the biggest misconceptions about purpose is that it’s …

Beyond Suffering: At Home In Yourself (Part 1)

By Blake D. Bauer // One must learn to love oneself with a wholesome and healthy love, so that one can bear to be with oneself and need not roam. — Friedrich Nietzsche Deep down, we all want to feel ‘welcome’, that we ‘belong’, and that we’re accepted just the way we are. We also want to feel appreciated, simply because we’re alive and not just for how we please others. Essentially, each of us holds a longing to feel at home within ourselves, because when we feel safe to simply be ourselves, where no one is judging us, and we can let our guard down to be vulnerable, our heart opens and allows the peace, joy and love within us to flow freely. To feel the warm embrace of unconditional love that most of us associate with the idea of ‘home’ is how we as human beings come to blossom and thrive. Even if our own experiences at home, either as children or as adults, have never been as loving or as warm as …

Susan Piver

Susan Piver on the Benefits of Meditation

By Susan Piver // A comprehensive list of all the benefits of meditation would be very long indeed. My friend and fellow meditation teacher Jonathan Foust has said that if it were a medication, meditation would be heralded as the miracle drug of the century! Some of the benefits that have been demonstrated recently through modern scientific inquiry include the following: It relieves stress (by lowering the stress hormone, cortisol). It improves focus and memory (by raising the level of gamma waves). It prevents relapse into depression by 50 percent (according to studies by Jon Kabat-Zinn, MD, and Zindel Segal, PhD). It boosts immunity (in one study, meditators demonstrated higher levels of antibodies than nonmeditators in reaction to a vaccination). It actually makes you demonstrably happier (by reducing activation in the amygdala and increasing it in the prefrontal cortex). The health benefits don’t stop there. In addition, it has been demonstrated that meditation can help with the following: lowering blood pressure decreasing symptoms in illnesses with a stress-related component (ulcers, for example) decreasing serum cholesterol …