Author: Travis Newbill

Alan Watts: How to Stop Time — a short film by Jason Lee Segal

The humor and poetic sense with which British philosopher Alan Watts delivered his lectures is perhaps as celebrated as the content of the material itself — which was groundbreaking in bringing Eastern philosophical thought and spirituality to the west in the 1950s and 60s. In more recent years, this enthusiasm for Watts’s spoken word has manifested as a trend of creative online videos — fusing imagery, music, and audio recordings of the bard himself. Shambhala Mountain Center’s own Jason Lee Segal has recently published a freaking awesome contribution to this sub-genre — using visuals captured on the Shambhala Mountain land (and a few shots from surrounding mountain vistas). This isn’t the first time Jason has honored the majestic beauty of the SMC land and culture through his gorgeous filmmaking. And each time he does, it makes us want to dance! We hope this short film moves you as much as it moves us. And, check out more of Jason’s work here: http://jasonleesegal.com/  About the Authors Jason Lee Segal is a writer/director currently residing in Los Angeles, CA. He …

WATCH: Orgyen Chowang Rinpoche Describes Pristine Mind

If you’re in the mood to sit in the presence of a Tibetan meditation master as he describes the nature of mind, go full-screen and settle into the video below, which brings you face-to-face with Orgyen Chowang Rinpoche as he offers a profound and deeply personal message. Happiness, he says, is unlikely to be found by chasing external conditions. Rather, through meditation, we can discover happiness within — along with what he calls “Pristine Mind.” The latter term is central to Rinpoche’s teachings, and is drawn from the legendary Padmasambhava. Recently, Shambhala Publications released Our Pristine Mind: A Practical Guide to Unconditional Happiness — a book in which Orgyen Chowang Rinpoche teaches in depth on Pristine Mind, and offers instructions for beginning meditators up through the attainment of enlightenment. In this video, Rinpoche offers an intimate taste of Pristine Mind, and then leads a calm abiding meditation. Let go, and enjoy! Shambhala Mountain Center hosts Finding Happiness Within: Reconnecting with Your Natural State through Pristine Mind Meditation with Orgyen Chowang Rinpoche, September 2–4 — click here to learn more. About …

Floral Notes and Bardo: To the Wheel

At a picnic table the other night, hearing about how some students of Trungpa gave up on their art because of internal conflict between devotion and self-expression. And this conflict lives on in mentor(s) of mine. Something about how we may be reifying ego, solidifying samsara, by expressing mind… if we are not a buddha. I was rolling with rebellion, and feeling so lonely, after that conversation. At home, I flipped open to a talk Ginsberg gave at the first Naropa Institute summer: “We’re all enlightened. Fuck that bullshit enlightenment. There is no enlightenment. If we’re going to start waiting to be enlightened to write poetry…” I felt at ease because Uncle Allen was devoted to the whole thing, all of it: guru and poesy alike. I feel his tender hand on my shoulder. I’m bewildered in our collective gaze. I’m dropping consonants out of nowhere into blue soup — home to birds. I know dew drops on: tip of tongue, to be given atop iris petals to friendly faeries, family. And to tell of …

Pema Chödrön says: “Don’t lose heart.”

This morning I had a conversation with my co-workers about some challenging circumstances that I’m in the midst of. With my description, I imagined I painted a storm cloud — complete with rumbling thunder and generally full of doom. And then I added that as dreadful as it feels, in the background is a sense that it’s a good, necessary process. In large part, I have Pema Chödrön to thank for helping to condition my mind to hold pain and terrible shit-storms of life within a view of path and awakening. In this video, she begins by relaying a most helpful bit of encouragement: Don’t lose heart. For more than a decade I’ve been turning to Pema Chödrön books in times of strife just to get a bit of encouragement like that; just to be reminded that this very moment — whatever the texture — is the process of awakening in living color. She always says: “Feel it.” And doing so allows us to know the reality of life on earth, and develop empathy for …

Floral Notes and Bardo: Crystal as Lotus

This morning I abandoned “other” projects and felt lighter. Only bringing the SMC beauty into being. She’s gone, I’ve wept. Shadow mood yesterday after too much low-alcohol beer the night before, after three hours of driving on farm roads — reviewing recordings — after dropping her off at the terminal, weeping, after having too much food to celebrate (?) together — last meal sort of thing. When we were pulling off the land friends came out from their offices and put dandelions in our windshield wipers, hugged Heather, skipped and danced and waved behind the car as we pulled off. The previous morning Joshua approached our breakfast table and encouraged Heather to design some things for the gift store. He expressed warm appreciation for who and how she is, how she dresses, her overall aesthetic and creative way. He wept. He said: “The more of you in the world, the better.” The previous night we had an amazing banquet to honor Heather and Sophie — land steward, who was also leaving. Toasts, feast, beauty, hugs, …

Ken Wilber on Mindfulness and Why “Growing Up” is as Important as “Waking Up”

As mindfulness has grown in popularity, it’s questionable whether it’s potential as a tool for enlightenment has been sufficiently acknowledged. Ken Wilber — author, philosopher, and founder of Integral Institute — notes that mindfulness is mostly valued for it’s benefits to health, productivity, and emotional well-being. Enlightenment, he says, is not so much a part of the popular motivation towards this practice. In the video below, Wilber contextualizes mindfulness — referencing it’s origination close to three thousand years ago, and how it relates to this moment in human development. And, how modern people might relate to the idea of enlightenment… or not. Later in the video, he succinctly introduces the provocative idea that throughout human history, people have either been focusing on “Growing up” or “Waking up,” but we have never done both at the same time. Therefore, he says, this history of humanity is that of a broken species — whether we’re considering people from the East or West. I hope you enjoy the video, and, if this whets your appetite, I encourage you to check out the …