Author: smcblog

Mindful Eating

[VIDEO] Mindful Eating: Your Life Is the Supreme Meal

By Marcella Friel // How much energy has your food obsession taken up in your mind and your life? What could your life be if that energy were liberated and available for the creative pursuits you desire but have been holding back on (like, say, writing your book, working with horses, or starting to date again)? According to the Zen teacher Bernard Glassman, roshi, a life that is lived fully and completely, with nothing held back, is called the supreme meal. Why not make 2018 “The Year of Your Supreme Meal”? Watch the video below for some inspiration. And please join me January 26 ~ 28 for my weekend program at SMC, “Mindful Eating: Learn EFT to Liberate Yourself from Unwise Food Choices.” You will discover that it’s about more than your food ~ it’s about your life. Shambhala Mountain Center hosts Mindful Eating: Learn EFT to Liberate Yourself from Unwise Food Choices with Marcella Friel, January 26–28, 2018 — click here to learn more >> About the Author Marcella Friel passionately promotes healing foods, authentic beauty …

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 …

The Practice of Dropping: An Antidote for a Busy Life

By Brian Spielmann & De West // When we’re babies, the ability to grasp, which becomes fully developed around 9-12 months, is one of the most important developmental milestones. This core skill demonstrates planning, hand-eye coordination, muscular strength, and motor skills. As adult spiritual practitioners, we have the opposite issue: how do we stop grasping and let go? Our minds are constantly grasping and fixating, creating much suffering in our minds and tension in our bodies. As Mick Jagger says, “You can’t always get what you want.” And that grasping is where samsara begins. The Buddhist and Yogic traditions both offer clear, practical instructions on how to let go fully. When we integrate these traditions, working both with our body and our mental awareness, we have a powerful dual pathway to further relaxation and sense of peace. Take a Load Off The good news is that our thoughts and emotional baggage don’t actually exist. They come and they go, and we can let them arise with no judgment or need to push them away. We …

Family Retreat

“Being” Over “Doing”: Advice for Meaningful Family Life

By Leslie Gossett // There is a billboard on the interstate here—an advertisement for a popular gym. It says “More ways to do it all.” There is a picture of a happy–looking person doing various gym activities. I feel nauseated every time I pass that billboard. Perhaps it’s different where you live, but here in the San Francisco Bay Area, this is the pervading culture. Life is becoming more and more about doing and less and less about being. I work closely with many families here in this area. What continues to surprise me is not how busy they are, but how much they complain about being busy while having no support for changing that. Schools are increasingly more demanding of not just the student’s time, but also of family time. Sports practice, music rehearsals, and after school activities happen every day of the week. Games and performances take up weekend time. And many children, tweens, and teens have more than 2 hours of homework each day, in addition to their rehearsals and practices. Parents …

A More Sane Approach to New Year “Resolutions”

By Jonathan Barbieri // The celebration of New Years is several thousands of years old. It has always been a time of renewal – fresh beginnings throughout the world. This year, perhaps more than most in the recent past, it seems to be an important time to step back and reflect on our human capability and our aspirations. This past year has been permeated by the presidential campaign and the first year of President Trump’s Administration. It is fair to say that the energetics unleashed during this time have been of a magnitude of which we have never fully seen or experienced in this country before. Many emotions seem to rise and role in like a wave only to be covered by the next wave. There is hope, fear, despair, anger, and confusion – to name a few. We listen to praise, blame and people being denigrated. The focus is often on the negative qualities of human beings with a constant emphasis on distrusting one another and fear. In the midst of this it could …

“Up to Snuff”— a Conversation with SMC’s Construction Manager, Dan Sosolla

Pictured: Dan Sosalla, SMC Project Manager (left), Rosalyn Avent, SMC Development Manager (right) By Rosalyn Avent // To update the community on SMC’s construction project Rosalyn Avent sat down with Project Manager Dan Sosolla. Check out their conversation below: Rosalyn Avent: Hi Dan, thanks for meeting with me! Dan Sosalla: Hi Rosalyn, it’s my pleasure. I’m excited about this project and happy to tell our community about what we’ve been working on. RA: Great! Could you start by telling us a bit about your background and your role in this project? DS: Let’s see… I got my undergraduate degree in Construction Management and worked for a national company called Mortenson Construction for eight years. My work with Mortenson was in a supervisory and quality control capacity working on large commercial projects like hospitals and taller downtown buildings in Denver. When I left Mortenson, I stayed on the construction side of things, framing houses in Boulder, and serving on the building committee for the Boulder Shambhala Center. I volunteered at the Boulder Center, helping them with various …

Why a Super Bowl Champion Volunteers at SMC

By Dave Stalls // Dear SMC supporters and fans, Thank you for allowing me, and so many others, to benefit from what you have built and invested in over the years here at Shambhala Mountain Center. In July of this year, I began volunteering at SMC because, like many of you, I struggle with my emotions about the direction of our country. I was looking for a way to be of benefit in a time when it seems that not only our country, but our world is in crisis. As the former CEO of Big Brothers, Big Sisters, and the co-founder of Denver’s Street Fraternity, a program designed to cultivate brotherhood and personal growth in at-risk urban youth, I see crisis every day. I am drawn to Shambhala Mountain Center because it offers one-of-a-kind, powerful support for working with challenging situations, and thanks to you, SMC was able to host the young men of Street Fraternity this Winter, completely for free. (Check out the picture above!) As I hiked up to Marpa Point with these incredible …

How I Healed a Broken Heart

By Patricia Flores White // Do you remember the first time you arrived at Shambhala Mountain Center? I do. It was late summer, and the nights were crisp and cold in my tent. The stupa was magnificent in all its glory, sitting with a backdrop of simple Colorado aspen and pine. The wildflowers were in bloom and so were the bears! Prior to living in my beloved tent here at SMC, I lived in a small fishing village in South America where I ran a Surf & Yoga School. Tourism was thriving in our humble paradise until, on April 16, 2016, the coast of Ecuador was crushed by a 7.8 magnitude earthquake. After a solid year of nonstop recovery work and over 3,000 aftershocks, I found it harder and harder to remember the last time I laughed out loud and I gradually began to lose my sense of humor all together. I also stopped surfing… that’s when I knew it was time for me to say goodbye. This summer, when I arrived at SMC, I realized, …

The Suffering of Water

By Katharine Kaufman // When I lived on Old Stage road, on morning walks I picked up the heaviest rock I could carry. I took a few steps then dropped it. Pick it up. Hold. Let go. Repeat. Sage, an Australian Shepard mix, had his version of the same game. ~ In 1993 at Jikoji Zen Center I realized there was no end to my self-clinging. After two months I thought I should be done with new ways to suffer. My plan was to be enlightened by the end of my three-month stint. I had no idea what that was. I didn’t know that I was asking for my personal suffering to be exchanged with suffering for others. Four of us sit zazen in silent early mornings, work in the afternoon, and evenings make dinner for anyone who happens to drop by. Then we sit with our new friends. This scratches at my attachment to my darling practice like an old vinyl 45. Sure, I belong. Everyone who wanders in here belongs. In October the …

Healing Guilt, Shame and Insecurity (Part 1)

By Blake D. Bauer // Do you constantly make yourself wrong for feeling the way you feel or for desiring the things you desire in life? Do you find yourself feeling guilty after you express your emotions or after doing something just for yourself that’s not about pleasing someone else? Do you constantly fear hurting others when making a choice that’s best for you, but then find that you stop yourself and hurt yourself instead? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you’re just like me and most people on the planet who suffer with deep guilt whereby we not only feel that we are a problem – that our mere existence is a burden – but also that we are somehow wrong, bad or sinful for wanting to be happy, well and truly loved. Is the fact that we’re surviving really enough? Should we just accept that it’s ‘normal’ to live in fear, with deep insecurity, shame and anxiety? Is asking to thrive, to achieve your dreams, to feel completely satisfied …