Author: smcblog

Eddies in the Stream

By Dr. Rick Hanson // 1 Rivers flow and eddies form. An eddy is a relatively stable pattern whose elements continually change. It is “standing-streaming,” a term from Evan Thompson’s marvelous book, Mind in Life. All eddies disperse eventually. 2 In a river, an eddy depends on many conditions. These include: The state of the eddy itself just one moment ago The shape of the riverbed, nearby boulders, water flows immediately upstream, and the amount of snowfall last winter. Going back and back, those conditions depend on the history of the earth, the solar system, the universe. Countless molecules of water 3 Molecules depend on atoms, such as hydrogen and oxygen. Almost all atoms heavier than helium depend on the stars which made them, mainly while exploding. A river is fluid stardust. A particle of any size is congealed energy. A river is a flow of light. 4 Atoms depend on subatomic particles made from quarks. Quarks are made from even smaller entities – perhaps infinitesimal vibrating strings – that comprise the substrate of the physical …

How to Be Yourself

By Blake D. Bauer // Some of us think holding on makes us strong, but sometimes it is letting go.  – Hermann Hesse If you stop pretending to be something you are not, or to feel other than you do, then what? If you were to let your mask come off, and show the world all of who you really are, then who would we all get to meet? If you stopped trying to fit in or to please your parents, friends, partner or whomever else’s approval, praise or love you seek, then what would you say? Where would you go? And what would you do? If you allowed the world to see your darkness and your light, your vulnerability and your power, do you fear you’d end up alone? But wait, are you not alone already when you feel misunderstood or unable to express what you really think and feel? It is ironic that we as human beings inevitably have to ask ourselves, ‘How do I be myself?’ One might assume that it’s easy …

[VIDEO] Beyond the Comparison Trap: A Radically Happy Approach to Glimpsing our Nature

By Erric Solomon // It used to be that every year my wife, Eva, and I would go to Cabo San Lucas in February to escape the relentless winter rain. It was only a two-hour flight from Silicon Valley, and we would leave in the morning and be on a stunning beach the same afternoon. One trip, we were having an especially idyllic time. We would start every morning meditating while looking out onto the ocean, and then go for a swim. Sitting on our beach chairs we were in bliss. I put my arm out and lovingly drew beautiful, dear Eva toward me and then I heard myself gently say with a little sigh: “Too bad every day can’t be like this.” As soon as I heard these words slip off of my tongue, I realized that even during this perfect moment, I was subtly dissatisfied.  During such wonderful times, haven’t we all caught ourselves thinking, “Too bad every day can’t be like this?” The inability to be fully present robs us of even …

Writing as a Path to Awakening

By Albert Flynn DeSilver // Writing as a Path to Awakening begins with a primal human question; who am I? Who am I, really? I can not tell what I am, because words can describe only what I am not, said the great Indian mystic Nisargadatta Maharaj. We set off writing on the path to awakening by tuning into what we are not. If we are not what words can describe, and words can describe pretty much everything, then what the heck are we? This is Writing as a Path to Awakening’s ultimate question, with the invitation to write and live your way into the answer. Writing as a Path to Awakening is about how conscious living informs conscious writing (conscious creativity) and in turn, how conscious writing and creativity inform conscious living. It’s one infinite loop, the helix of return. The practice of writing is an exploration of consciousness, a practice toward deeper self-awareness, and moves us along the path of awakening to our true nature. Many of our greatest spiritual teachers from around …

Mindful Hiking

Practicing Mindfulness and Awareness in Nature

By Kay Peterson // A passing rainstorm doesn’t have to ruin a hike if we remember to bring a raincoat or don’t mind temporarily getting a little wet! The clouds are certain to pass and we may even be left feeling stronger and more rejuvenated than we expected. Our emotional landscape is much like the weather – we may not be able to control it, but we do have power over our reactions to it. As human beings, we have a tendency to gravitate toward pleasurable experiences and to avoid potentially painful ones. One could argue that some of that tendency is a by-product of important survival instincts. We need to be able to identify and act when we encounter potentially life-threatening situations. However, this “instinct” can also run amok – especially these days when we rarely find ourselves being chased by dinosaurs 😉 Sometimes that part of the brain that alerts us to potential danger has been trained to be reactive – to be especially sensitive – often due to some kind of trauma …

SMC Response to Recent Denver Post Article

Dear Friends, An article in the Denver Post and Boulder Daily Camera published on Sunday, July 7th provided examples of misconduct and mishandling of reports of abuse at Shambhala Mountain Center between the late 1990s and 2008. The article is linked here: https://www.denverpost.com/2019/07/07/shambhala-sexual-abuse/ SMC’s Governing Council and I want to acknowledge and apologize for the reported incidents and the pain caused by the failure to address them appropriately. In one, a former SMC staff member recalled being treated as the problem when she alerted SMC leaders in the late 1990s to what she and others believed to be a sexual relationship between a middle-aged staff member and an underage girl. In the other, a former staff member reported that in 2008 SMC leadership failed to intervene and instead blamed her when she sought help freeing herself from an abusive relationship with another SMC community member. That these incidents occurred in past decades does not absolve current SMC leadership of our moral responsibility. We commit to learning from our past shortcomings and improving our ability to …

MBSR

28,762 days

By Janet Solyntjes // This is the number of days that make up the average life expectancy of a person born in the United States. How many of these days will US citizens spend appreciating life? How will you spend this one? We are a time-conscious society. Productivity, connectivity, pressured to beat the clock—how often do we look at our iPhone or laptop to see what time it is? Do we understand what time is telling us? The clock and the calendar are both saying that we won’t be here forever. They reveal one simple truth: time only runs in one direction. An aspen tree doesn’t look at a clock to see when it is time to turn golden. The northern lake doesn’t need a timeline or deadline to tell it when to freeze or thaw. As humans, we often experience time-related stress. Rather than seeing the passing of time as a source of pressure or a reason to feel that we are too lazy, too crazy, or that we are losing our grip on …

SMC Garden Alchemy: The Life & Times of Zukes & Cukes

By Arli Brundage // Gardening is a meditative practice. The process of preparing garden beds, planting seeds, watering and harvesting is much like the art of mindful living. Gardening reminds us to be intentional. We’re perpetually planting seeds through our actions, though it takes dedication and discipline to cultivate our ideas and actually see the fruit of our labor. Often, we visualize abundant ambitions, though lack the necessary steps to see growth. “Faith, like a mustard seed, moves mountains” is an applicable idiom. It is amazing, edging on miraculous, to place tiny seeds in fertile soil and with the nourishment of sun and water, see them fulfill their destiny. Consider what type of seeds you are planting in your life. Contemplate what daily steps are necessary to see those dreams come to life. Our geodesic dome greenhouse presently houses 4 koi fish, tomato plants in abundance, numerous newly planted cukes and zukes, and hundreds of seedlings, eagerly awaiting to be transplanted into the spaciousness of the garden, after the last frost. The cucumbers and zucchini …

SMC Receives Environmental Stewardship Award

Shambhala Mountain Center has received the 2019 Environmental Stewardship Award by the Larimer County Commissioners for our Healthy Forest Initiative. We are honored and grateful to all who have contributed to this project! The Healthy Forest Initiative was developed in response to over a century of fire suppression on the land. This condition ultimately created an overcrowded, monocultural forest across 125 acres of land. The aim of the Healthy Forest Initiative is to return this land to a more healthy and biodiverse state. To read more about the 2019 Environmental Stewardship Awards: https://northfortynews.com/larimer-county-presents-2019-environmental-stewardship-awards/

Andrew Holecek

Andrew Holecek on Preparing for A “Good Death”

By Andrew Holecek // Death is one of the most precious experiences in life. It is literally a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. The karma that brought us into this life is exhausted, leaving a temporarily clean slate, and the karma that will propel us into our next life has not yet crystallized. This leaves us in a unique “no man’s land,” a netherworld the Tibetans call “bardo,” where all kinds of miraculous possibilities can materialize. At this special time, with the help of skillful friends, we can make rapid spiritual progress and directly influence where we will take rebirth. We can even attain enlightenment. Buddhist masters proclaim that because of this karmic gap, there are more opportunities for enlightenment in death than in life. Robert Thurman, who translated The Tibetan Book of the Dead, says: “The time of the bardo is the best time to attempt consciously to affect the causal process of evolution for the better. Our evolutionary momentum is temporarily fluid during the bardo, so we can gain or lose a lot of ground during its …