Author: smcblog

Michael W. Taft

5 Reasons Your Mindfulness Practice Has Stalled & How to Reboot It

By Michael W. Taft // It happened to me, and it’s happened to many people I know. You have learned to sit still and follow your breath. You can directly contact the reality of the present moment. You can go deep. The power of meditation practice has made itself manifest, you’ve experienced real benefit, and it’s given you a significant edge on life. But year after year, you’re practice is not developing any further. You’re not gaining new insights and it’s not engendering new and positive behaviors anymore. The wind has gone out of your sails, and you’re in the doldrums. This is the definition of being “stuck in a good place.” Don’t get me wrong: it’s much better than not having a meditation practice at all, but now you’re treading water. If you don’t change something at this point, you’ll probably remain trapped on this plateau for a very long time, even the rest of your life. I’ve seen it happen to lots of people. I’ve taught meditation to thousands of people, and in my …

Susan PIver

How I Discovered the Four Noble Truths of Love

By Susan Piver // Some time ago, my husband, Duncan, and I were locked in a state of ongoing disagreement. This disagreement had no center, theme, object, or subject. It was more like a demonic presence. Whatever we discussed gave rise to conflict, whether it was about what time to leave for the movies, if the dishes in the dishwasher were clean or dirty, which bank to use, or if we belonged together as a couple. Once we even argued about what time it was. Even a question as simple as “Where do you want to eat dinner?” could provoke talk of divorce. (True story: When I posed this question one night, we were driving on a country road and, for some reason, we exploded at each other. I made him pull over and let me out of the car… in France. I had no idea where we were. I didn’t care—I just wanted out. I walked into a field until I got scared and went back to the car, arms folded.) When we were …

Lila Yoga

A Simple Visualization Meditation from Yogacharya Erica Kaufman

By Erica Kaufman // I developed this simple meditation to help people experience a state of yoga—where the mind is clean and clear. The feedback has been remarkable.  Visualizations like this tend to free us in a profound way and we actually experience limitless support as we sit. The tools of yoga are vast and highly useful. I grew up with yoga and am energized to support you in the many ways it feeds our soul and health. Imagine the divine sweet scent of the trees at Shambhala. Close your eyes and watch your breath. Regulate your pace and make the habitat for your breath spacious by sitting with a long spine and a broad chest. Comfortably slow and deepen your breath. Continue for a few minutes. Now take note of where your mind usually goes. Ask yourself: “what are the things that have been drawing my attention lately?” See them in your mind as a slide show. Just like cards, collect these slides and set them aside for now. Allow yourself to be in …

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 …

Work

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. // marcellafriel.com 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 …