Author: smcblog

SMC’s Statement Regarding Allegations of Sexual Misconduct by the Spiritual Leader of Shambhala, Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche

Over the past few weeks our community here in the Colorado mountains has been deeply shaken, as we’ve recently learned that the spiritual leader of Shambhala, Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, has engaged in clergy sexual misconduct. What we know about these transgressions comes from the accounts of three women, which were made public on June 28th in the Project Sunshine Phase II report. You can read them here. You can also read the initial June 25th statement from the Sakyong here, and a follow up statement from July 10th here. As far as we know, no one presently living in the SMC community was a victim of sexual misconduct committed by the Sakyong or any other teacher or leader of Shambhala. As the news has spread, and allegations of sexual assault have become public, each of us has had to re-examine our own relationship to the Sakyong and to Shambhala, as an international organization under his leadership. Doubt and uncertainty about our path forward abound, but the staff and leadership at Shambhala Mountain Center make the …

The Search for Comfort Zones

By Orgyen Chowang Rinpoche // With every blink of the eye, with every breath, we are trying to find comfort—some kind of relief from the underlying agitation and unsettledness of our ordinary mind. We look to family or friends, to some source of stimulation, or to an infinite number of other external conditions that we hope will help us. When we listen to music, watch movies, or engage in any other form of entertainment, in one way we are enjoying it, but in another way it is also an example of using our ordinary mind to find comfort. Our search for this comfort arises from the primordial fear within our ordinary mind. We are all trying to find a comfort zone, and when our circumstances inevitably change and we are no longer in a comfort zone, our secure and hopeful world is gone. Even when we are getting what we want, we worry that we may lose our comfort zones. We worry about losing our job, our family, our relationship, our health, and anything else …

Cyndi Lee

Radical Inclusivity and Just Showing Up

By Cyndi Lee // The other day a friend of mine texted to cancel our lunch date. The reason, she wrote, was that her body wasn’t feeling well and was telling her it needed to rest. After wishing her a delicious nap and a speedy recovery, I couldn’t help but wonder about this conversation between her and her body. I pondered how it could be that her body is not her and, if so, who is she that isn’t a body? Of course, this brings up age-old questions about the nature of consciousness, impermanence, and the definition of the true self. But what I’m really struck with is how we separate ourselves from ourselves. The word yoga comes from the Sanskrit word, yuj, which is typically translated as to yoke or bind, to join, unite or re-unite. In other words, yoga is relationship. Of course, we know that mind and body are part of each other. You cannot have a body without a mind or a mind without a body. But sometimes we forget. One …

Connecting with Solitude

By Kelly Lindsey // “We need to acknowledge that solitude is an invitation to the soul to come alive. Solitude is utterly luminous if we lose our fears and enter it more deeply.” John O’Donohue “Solitude is an invitation,” O’Donohue writes, speaking to the openness and gentleness with which we might enter an experience of solitude, whether it be a long solitary retreat or simply our daily practice of sitting meditation. We have a choice: we can either approach the experience of solitude with a motivation of achievement or to change who we are, or we can approach our practice with an open heart that wants truly to know who we are and embraces what we discover with loving-kindness and acceptance. The results of these two approaches are very different, even if the practices we do are exactly the same. He continues: “for our souls to come alive,” suggesting that solitude is essential to connecting with the deepest parts of our being and awakening to the truth of who we are. This is in part because …

Brooke Binstock

The Three S’s: Stillness, Silence, and Spaciousness

By Brooke Binstock // When the three of us; Kelly Lindsey, Marissa Knox and I got together to talk about what to center our August retreat at Shambhala Mountain Center around, we easily settled on the theme of Stillness, Silence, and Spaciousness (the three S’s).  In our incredibly busy world full of opportunities for distraction and a tendency to keep a very full, often overflowing schedule, this focus seems almost essential. I’ll speak for myself as a small business owner and I’m certain my colleagues can agree, that unless I purposefully create space in my life, the plates will keep on spinning and the tasks will continue to stack up, often to the point of overwhelm or burn-out.  We must remind ourselves that there will never be that perfect moment in life where we can create space. It is something we must do intentionally. I think part of why it is challenging to slow down and create space for ourselves is because of the demands that life naturally throws our way.  We need to make money, …

The New Face of Yoga

By Katharine Kaufman //                                                         After great pain, a formal feeling comes – *                                                                                                  ~Emily Dickinson The shock of the announcement runs through my body. I wake at three or so on alternate nights and stay awake. The other nights the book falls out of my hands and words on the page mix with dream images. When I turn the light off I am narrow with shock and fear. I sing the song my mother sang—when you awake you will find all the pretty little horses. The lullaby goes on to describe the colors and types of the horses. Maybe it was about dreaming horses. All that happens in the song is the girl stops crying and sleeps and in the morning she will have horses. It carried me …

Interdependence Is the Tie That Binds

By Stan Tatkin // I watched the popular TV show Madam Secretary, and there was a moment when the central figure got a mini lecture from a Nobel laureate mathematician about negotiations. The character stated that the key to getting disparate parties to agree on peace is to illuminate their interdependence. I won’t say I got the basic idea for this blog from the TV show, but I was inspired to write after watching it. Interdependence means, in the case of couples, that each partner has a stake in something. We could say childrearing is one such shared investment, although having a child is not sufficient to keep couples together. Just look at the stats. Because many partners do not function securely together to begin with, they tend to become increasingly insecure when they add children. They resort to childrearing as a separate endeavor and not as lovers collaborating in a family enterprise. The demise of their relationship should not be a surprising outcome. But there is another common tie that should bind partners together: …