Author: smcblog

[VIDEO] Zen Path of the Heart

By Gerry Shishin Wick, Roshi and Ilia Shinko Perez, Roshi // Many spiritual practitioners are confused about what to do when feelings and emotions arise during meditation. Some traditions teach to treat the emotions like thoughts and let them go, returning to the breath. In Zen Path of the Heart, feeling sensations and emotions are welcomed and seen as necessary aspects of progress in the path of awakening. The sensations of emotions, when present, become the focal point of the concentrated mind and are held with nonjudgmental awareness. This gentle and kind acceptance of our present state allows feelings to come, run their course, and dissolve and transform. Allowing these emotional processes to unfold as they naturally need to heals the emotional wounds developed throughout one’s life, and thereby dissolving karmic habit patterns. Ongoing meditation develops the expansive container that can hold these emotional states without needing to eject into mental stories or repress the emotion through avoidance. The path to the recognition of our True Being must include everything: our feelings, our personality and our humanity. …

Why Jiu-Jitsu for Self-Defense

By Maya Fliegel // I have always been intrigued by martial arts of all kinds. The discipline, the body-mind coordination, the strength and of course the bad-assery. The self-defense aspect of knowing martial arts seemed secondary to me at first. As a kid, I did Judo for a while and I liked it a lot. However, being a passionate, lifelong horseback rider, I had to decide at some point where I wanted to invest my resources—and horses won at that particular point in my life. Later in my 20s, I reconnected with martial arts. I was told about Aikido and thought I should really like it. However, I tried it and I didn’t. I just couldn’t connect with it at the time. Luckily, that same day I got an introduction to Jiu-Jjitsu; an art that I had barely heard of at that point, and had no concept of what it entailed. Nevertheless, it immediately clicked with me. So, why would I voluntarily let myself get tackled by a guy who is twice my size and …

Blake D. Bauer

Understand Your Life Purpose

By Blake D. Bauer // The questions ‘Why am I here?’ and ‘What is my life purpose?’ are at the heart of every human life. If we truly want to be happy, well and at peace, we’re called to remember, with crystal clarity, why we were born. Understanding that your life has a purpose and that all suffering is purposeful can help you find the strength to persist on your healing and spiritual journey when you’re struggling. As with the destiny of every human being, your destiny entails learning how to love, value and be true to yourself completely, which then unlocks the love within you and allows you simply to enjoy being alive. It’s helpful to know that our choices, spoken words and actions in each moment are either leading us closer to fulfilling our life’s purpose or creating more pain, misery and sickness. Every experience that we’ve had since our birth right up until this very moment has been teaching us to accept, forgive, honour, value, respect, express, trust in and be true …

How a Meditation Retreat Can Change Everything

By Daniel Hessey // Acharya Bill McKeever and I led a dathün a few years ago, and at the beginning of the month–long retreat, he filled a glass of water and stirred some mud into it. It became murky and funky. You could not see through the glass, and you wouldn’t want to drink it. Even when the the water stopped swirling, the dirt remained suspended and the water opaque. Bill put the glass on the shrine, where it sat untouched for four weeks. The first week, it didn’t seem to change all that much, but on the second week you could see some sediment accumulating at the bottom—though the water was not clear. The third week, you could see through the water much better, though it was still a little brown. Then, in the fourth week, Bill picked up the glass and drank from the clear water above all the mud that had settled to the bottom. Daily meditation practice changes everything. We learn we can make friends with ourselves, our thoughts, our emotions, and …

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 …

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 …