All posts filed under: Mind-Body

Orgyen Chowang Rinpoche on Taking Care of Your State of Mind at Home

In this video, meditation master Orgyen Chowang Rinpoche, a meditation master in the Nyingma lineage of the Buddhist tradition, talks about how meditation, patience, and positive thoughts and emotions help us take care of our state of mind at home or wherever we are. Next month, Rinpoche will be leading an online retreat through SMC titled Tips and Techniques for Clearing Agitation and Restoring a Comfortable Mind. In this online retreat, meditation master Orgyen Chowang Rinpoche will teach you how to break free from agitation and unhappiness and restore a happy and comfortable mind. Rinpoche will draw on his own experience, and on teachings from Dzogchen masters such as Guru Rinpoche Padmasabhava and Longchenpa. About Orgyen Chowang Rinpoche Orgyen Chowang Rinpoche is a meditation master in the Nyingma lineage of the Buddhist tradition. He studied for nine years at Larung Gar in Serta, eastern Tibet, with his teacher, Jigmed Phuntsok Rinpoche, who is widely acknowledged as one of the greatest Dzogchen meditation masters of the twentieth century. Orgyen Chowang Rinpoche lives in the San Francisco …

First, Do No Harm: The Need for Trauma-Sensitive Mindfulness

By David Treleaven, Ph.D. // Trauma is big in the news these days. So is mindfulness. On first glance, this appears to be a good thing: But when we look deeper, things get more complicated. David Treleaven, PhD, talks about how we can implement mindfulness and meditation programs in a trauma-sensitive way. A few months ago, I was approached with a problem by a colleague who taught meditation in a classroom setting. Here was the issue: a student of hers had lost her father to COVID-19, and was struggling with symptoms of traumatic stress. When she’d meditate, images and sensations would flood her field of consciousness, leaving her more rattled than before. “Should I keep meditating?” she’d asked my colleague. “I want to work with my stress, but practicing seems to be making things worse. What should I do?” This is a conversation I’d been having for years with meditation teachers and practitioners all over the world. Given the global pandemic, this conversation has become even more frequent and intense. What should we do when …

“THIS Is the Spiritual Path.” Sara Avant Stover on Crisis and Opportunity

In this short teaching, best-selling author and spiritual teacher Sara Avant Stover offers encouragement for healing through this tumultuous moment — on the personal and collective levels — by not turning away from unwanted experience. Enjoy the 5 minute video below, and learn about our upcoming online retreat with Sara here. VIDEO Join Sara for this upcoming online retreat! About Sara Avant Stover Sara Avant Stover is a teacher of feminine spirituality and empowerment, bestselling author, and founder of The Way of the Happy Woman®. After a cancer scare in her early twenties, Sara moved to Thailand, embarked on a decade-long healing and spiritual odyssey throughout Asia, and has since gone on to uplift tens of thousands of women worldwide. Sara has also been featured in Yoga Journal, the Huffington Post, Newsweek, Natural Health, and on ABC, NBC, and CBS. She lives in Santa Barbara, CA. Visit her online at www.TheWayoftheHappyWoman.com

In the Times of Coronavirus: How to Be Informed Without Being Overwhelmed

By Megan Prager // Is it possible in this time to stay informed and not be totally overwhelmed? Like many, I find myself consuming a large amount of media. There are beautiful stories of people supporting one another, as well as many stories and statistics of suffering that can leave us in wonder and fear. Recently the World Health Organization put out a list of Considerations to Support Mental Health in the times of COVID-19, with one recommendation being:  Minimize watching, reading or listening to news about COVID-19 that causes you to feel anxious or distressed… seek information updates at specific times during the day, once or twice. The sudden and near-constant stream of news reports about an outbreak can cause anyone to feel worried.  Important advice indeed. When we aren’t intentional about consuming news related to COVID-19 both in terms of content and amount, we can easily experience feelings of distress and overwhelm. Here is the thing about overwhelm: It doesn’t feel good! We suffer when we feel it. What we know about optimal adult learning (based …

Grief in the Time of COVID: Sharing in Compassion and Resilience (excerpt)

By Holly Gayley // When my father went into the hospital on May 6th, there were 76,000 deaths in the US from COVID-19. By the time he passed away eleven days later, there were 90,000. It’s strange when something as deeply and personally felt as the death of a loved one becomes part of a national statistic. Yet it also points to the collective nature of grief related to the pandemic and the systemic injustices that it has revealed and intensified. We are in a time of collective grief. Some of us have lost loved ones to COVID-19. Others have lost jobs or been furloughed due to the lockdown of cities and towns across the country. On top of all that, since the killing of George Floyd on May 25, the streets have been filled with renewed anguish and calls for racial justice and the end of police brutality. The enormity of the crisis affects us all, directly or indirectly. How can we handle the emotional intensity and grief while supporting each other in the …

Simple Strategies to Feel Well & Break Through in Today’s Uncertainty

By Blake D. Bauer // With everything that’s going on in the world it’s very natural to feel overwhelmed, worried and confused. Every emotion you’re feeling within yourself is valid. Helplessness, sadness, anger, and frustration are all healthy responses to the various situations we’re facing within our homes, our communities, our workplaces, and across the world.  Many people are feeling the need to act and reclaim both their power and their voice. This is happening in personal relationships behind closed doors as well as out in our communities, all of which is purposeful and necessary. As individuals we are facing challenges on every level of our being and in all aspects of our lives. Today more than ever, it’s both critical and potentially life-saving to have practical tools that help us to feel more centered, clear-minded, and secure within ourselves. Instead of shutting down, numbing out, pretending you’re okay, or becoming paralyzed, I invite you to test the following views and practices for yourself and the people in your life. I promise they will help …

Transforming Fear 

By Blake D. Bauer // In the same way that no person wants to be unhappy or unwell, no human being wants to live in fear. If you do not address your underlying fears directly, you will constantly project them onto your ideas of the future, which then causes you to create a life that is defined by what you fear rather than what you love. Fear that is not honestly faced and transformed today will always drive us to think, speak and act in ways that bring about the exact situations and experiences we fear most. When we allow this to continue without being aware of it, we keep reaffirming our limiting beliefs while we simultaneously destroy our health, happiness, and everything else potentially positive in our lives.  By paying particular attention to who and what we fear now, we can question why we’re scared and begin to see through the thoughts and emotions that are holding us back, making us sick or keeping us unhappy. As we do this we naturally come to …

MBSR

[Watch] Janet Solyntjes on How Mindfulness Helps Reveal Our Personal Truth

In the midst of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, and the uprising for social justice in the wake of the police killing of George Floyd, it seems fair to assume that many people are experiencing intense emotions right now and uncertainty about how to navigate… all of this.  In a few weeks, SMC will be hosting an online Mindfulness Meditation Intensive, and recently we asked Janet Solyntjes—a longtime MBSR teacher, and co-leader of the retreat—to share her thoughts.    While Janet didn’t claim to have all the answers, she offered that mindfulness practice—especially in an intensive retreat context—is a way to “feel into, and relax into, the truth of what you don’t know—and perhaps little threads of what you do know. It’s an invitation to do the personal inquiry that we all need to do in one way or another. And, in retreat, it’s a way to do that in community, and to feel the interconnectedness.”  For those seeking some guidance for their practice and/or considering the benefits of carving out some retreat time, I encourage you …