Author: smcblog

MBSR Vacation

The Paradox of Pleasure

There’s a natural sacredness in the world – in the blue sky, muddy earth, the sound of leaves fluttering, faces of children at play, the feeling of muscles exerting, the change of season. We need not pursue pleasure, it’s present when were willing to experience the world directly. It’s as if our eyes have grown scales making it hard to see. When we relax the scales fall away.

Can You Make Friends with Entropy?

By Michael W. Taft // One time as a little kid, I burned my hand on a hot stove. My mom gave me a towel with ice cubes in it to hold. Tears poured down my cheeks as I sobbed. I remember looking at my palm, which was extremely painful, and thinking, “Why me?” Suffering is an integral part of being alive. Nobody likes it. We’d all want to get completely rid of it if we could. As I said, suffering is just the way it is. But why? Why is suffering such a central aspect of our lived experience? In short: entropy. The universe is entropic, meaning that all things fall into disorder and decay eventually. Life in the universe does just the opposite, however. The physicist Erwin Schrödinger famously described life as an anti-entropic system—that is it creates order within itself. But eventually, each life, too, must succumb to the travails of entropy. We age and grow old, and this is the result of entropy. We die and our bodies decay, which is also …

Blake D. Bauer

The Search for Love, Part 2

The funny thing about most of us is that even though love is the one thing we all want more than anything in life, it’s also the one thing that scares us more than anything else. Love scares us to our core because it requires our heart to be open and vulnerable to ourselves, to other people and to the world. We fear this love we desire so strongly because it opens our heart, and when our heart is truly naked we feel ourselves, we feel others, we feel our world, and we feel the love and the pain we’ve held in, closed our eyes to and disconnected from for so long. Rather than fully feel the intensity of life, we unintentionally close our heart and cut ourselves off from the pulsating truth of what we feel because we’re scared of experiencing uncomfortable emotions like rejection or insecurity that are inherent to human existence. Of course, we’re not aware of this, but in doing so we actually reject our true self, which is the source …

Mindful Business

Going Back to the Breath: Integrating Meditation and Mindfulness With Business Leadership

By Rob Dube // It’s an interesting dynamic to find a deep connection while sitting in complete silence with a complete stranger, but that’s exactly how my relationship with this week’s donothing® podcast guest, Janet Solyntjes, began. While attending my first extended silent retreat as a student, few—if any—words were actually exchanged between Janet and myself. Despite that communication hurdle, I instantly knew my mindset as a business owner would be altered after a week with her. Possessing unmatched insight, serious wit, and a compassionate spirit, Janet has the innate ability to click with anyone from dedicated health professionals to skeptical CEOs. More than a mindfulness virtuoso, Janet fully understands today’s complex society in ways few others do. Unpretentious and fully grounded in reality, her wisdom is perfect for business leaders seeking a stronger connection to themselves and their employees. During our most stressful moments, if we can’t snap our fingers and transport ourselves to a tranquil safe space, how do we instead find it mentally? Since that first introduction, I’m happy to say Janet …

Take These Two Vows for a Fresh Beginning in 2019

By Jonathan Barbieri // Each year we usually have some positive experiences and some negative. By the end of the year there is a quality of shifting – that the energy of the previous year has come to a culmination; it could feel charged or stale and often is somewhere in-between. There is a reason that the New Year’s celebration is several thousands of years old. It has always been a time of renewal – fresh beginnings throughout the world. A time of reflection on our aspirations and human capability. Whether we feel confident about going forward or uncertain the ground is ripe, we human beings have enormously rich qualities. We have intelligence, kindness, caring and an inner strength. These innate qualities are the foundation for the New Year as well as our life journey. Each year at Shambhala Mountain Center, people gather for a New Year’s retreat called Take a Leap. Being at a special place, during a poignant time together with special people, is a great environment to nourish our rich and positive …

Why I’m Grateful to You! #GivingTuesday – a Letter from SMC’s Development Associate, Whitney Trotta

This Tuesday, November 27th is #GivingTuesday, a movement to create an international day of giving. However, I’d like to propose that we change #GivingTuesday into “Gratitude Tuesday.” I’m not the first to propose this, and I’m certainly not against giving (please give generously!), it’s that, to me, gratitude is the real reason for the season. This year, I’m so appreciative of SMC’s patrons. I’ve seen first hand how important your gifts are to keeping SMC going. And, your generosity has given me a special gift. I began my time here at Shambhala Mountain Center as a summer volunteer, supporting the Development Team. Now, I am honored to be on staff as the Development Associate. Living at SMC has given me everything I’ve been looking for: the ability to use my skills for a meaningful purpose, living in community with people on a similar path, room for spiritual growth, and so much beautiful nature! This place is truly special. The most important gift I received since living here was a moment in Shambhala Level I Training …

In the Company of Women: Precious Knowing

By Katharine Kaufman Home At Shambhala Mountain Center I have the good fortune to be at the Shambhala Mountain Center at this moment so I can tell you what it is like in the winter here — at least right now. Still & quiet. Today I walked up to the ridge — maybe to get nearer to the sun. There was some trudging through snow and also big patches with no snow. I rested on an outcropping of rocks. A group of deer were close to the Stupa. They looked up at me and leapt away as if gravity were no problem. Inside the Stupa I was struck by what feels like the thickness of many years of people practicing. The good humored gentleness and authentic way of the staff feels so warming. I am called back to this place. This is one of my homes. On Inspiration My idea for the women’s retreats began from my sense that it would be great to gather, and do practices on the coldest day of the winter …

Blake D. Bauer

Blake D. Bauer on the Search for Love

By Blake D. Bauer // “Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” — Jalaluddin Rumi Our search for love and connection is the one true driving force behind everything we do and everything we desire in life. Once our striving for approval, recognition, security or success loses its momentum, we finally realize we’ve simply been looking for love in all its manifestations, because when it comes down to it, what else really matters? In many cases, even before our physical survival needs for food, water or shelter have been met, our need for love surfaces as the primary motivating factor in life, because love is what makes life truly worth living. Love, and the genuine meaningful connections that arise with it, is the true medicine that heals, inspires and fulfills, and this is why, whether we’re willing to admit it or not, we are either directly or indirectly in the pursuit of love right now. This universal …

The Role of Doing Nothing When it Comes to Intentional Living and Mindfulness, with Janet Solyntjes

Janet Solyntjes is a certified MBSR teacher and serves on the faculty of the Center for Mindfulness at UMass. She is also on the faculty of the Engaged Mindfulness Institute, helping train people to bring trauma-informed mindfulness into underserved and at-risk communities. Janet has offered MBSR courses in Colorado since 2000 and has been leading mindfulness meditation retreats in the United States and internationally for over 20 years. She is co-founder of the Boulder-based Center for Courageous Living, a small business committed to promoting the inherent goodness of individuals and groups through a variety of supportive services, programs, and retreats. Here she is in conversation with Rob Dube—an avid meditator of 14 years, the author of donothing: the most rewarding leadership challenge you will ever take, and founder/organizer of the donothing® Leadership Silent Retreat. Rob is also the President of imageOne—which is ranked one of Forbes Top 25 Small Businesses in America and #1 Top Workplace in Detroit. Some of the things you’ll learn about in this interview: Janet explains the browser tabs in our …

Working with Courage: A Three Minute Practice

By Janet Solyntjes // In my early years of meditation training I was unable to sit still for long, maybe five minutes, before I would shift my body with hopes of improving my practice. My body hurt, my mind was impossible, and I was crawling out of my skin much of the time. My practice revealed glimpses of “calm abiding” and “dignity,” but it was tough going! My teachers reminded me that practice was a breeding ground for courage. Courage, I was told, becomes the seedbed for nurturing our deepest aspiration for a meaningful life and for a sane society. It takes courage to be present to the unknown, to touch what is frightening, to let go of what is familiar, and, once again, open. Now I remember to bring my heart to the cushion ~ how else will I cultivate bravery? Three Minute Practice: The Courage of this Moment Ask yourself this: What would it take for me to fully inhabit the experience of being human right now? Can I feel the sensations of …