All posts filed under: Mind-Body

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 …

Andrew Holecek

[WATCH] Andrew Holecek on Working with Fear & Anxiety; Navigating This Bardo

Andrew Holcek is a Buddhist teacher and author (and dentist and concert pianist) who has earned the nickname Dr. Death because of his extensive knowledge of the death and bardo teachings of Tibetan Buddhism. And his presentations on this universally relevant (and dreaded) topic are enriched by his unending interest in the findings of western psychology and neuroscience as well. Basically, he’s a good person to check in with if you realize that life as you knew it is over and you need a map for navigating the in-between state—the bardo.  Of course, some of the trickiest, most crucial, and most immediate tasks in navigating the bardo have to do with relating to—rather than from—fear and anxiety. It’s quite possible to do this well, Andrew says. And, if you can, this crisis, this time of uncertainty, can accelerate your spiritual and psychological development rather than initiate a spiral of regression.  Andrew offers helpful perspective, as well as one of his “emergency meditations,” in this recent interview. Enjoy the video below, or scroll down to stream/download …

How Will We Meet this Moment?

By Gelong Loden Nyima // Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche passed away into parinirvana when I was nine months old.  I never met him but have felt my path—like that of thousands—has been occurring in the wake of his.  I practiced at places he founded, was taught and trained to teach in his lineage, and now live at Shambhala Mountain Center in a cabin on the aptly named “Stupa View” which sits in the valley beneath his Great Stupa of Dharmakaya.   The Buddhist tradition identifies the age we’re living in as broadly fortunate because teachings leading to enlightenment are alive and available, yet also troubled as it is a time when the mass amalgamations of actions arising from greed, aggression, and willful ignorance ripen into social and global occurrences of resource depletion, conflict, and pandemic illness.  Much of what we now know to be occurring, and what experts on climate change and public health expect for the future, has also been forecast in Buddhism for millennia based on this understanding of cause and effect. Similar to and …

[WATCH] Dr. Rick Hanson: “Finding Calm and Contentment in Turbulent Times”

  In this video, filmed live with Shambhala Mountain Center, Dr. Rick Hanson—the renowned psychologist, best-selling author, and meditation teacher—shares techniques and insights that are directly applicable to life in these challenging times. In addition, Rick has offered a package of bonus material to everyone who finds their way to this video. It includes a few guided meditations, as well as the first chapter of his new book Neurodharma—which just came out May 6! Click here to get the bonus material! As Dr. Hanson says: “The deepest roots of the highest happiness are in the body. At the intersection of modern science and ancient wisdom – which could be called neurodharma – we can find very effective tools for resilient well-being.” May this be of benefit. About Rick Hanson Rick Hanson, Ph.D., is a psychologist, Senior Fellow of the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley, and New York Times best-selling author. His books are available in 28 languages and include Resilient, Hardwiring Happiness, Buddha’s Brain, Just One Thing, and Mother Nurture. He’s been an invited speaker at Google, NASA, …

Follow the Threads — Mindful Awakening

By Michael W. Taft // Mille viae ducunt homines per saecula Romam When I started meditating in my teens, I believed in Enlightenment. I was going to get to the Big E, which involved having certain mind-blowing experiences. You’d see the Light, or God would open her kimono, or whatever, and after that you’d glow in the dark. I was super enthusiastic and worked really hard to do whatever I believed it took have those experiences. Months in caves in India. Pilgrimages to rivers, glaciers, and to the tops of mountains. Celibacy. Studying at the feet of masters wreathed in garlands of flowers. Mostly lots and lots of meditation. This setup for an article usually now transitions into saying that all that was a waste, and that Awakening is always available in every moment without any of that stuff. But that’s not at all how I would describe what I’ve found. Instead, I feel like, Yes, awakening is available in every moment, especially if you’ve done lots and lots of meditation. Even all those rituals, …

How Do We Live in the Face of Loss, Heartbreak, and Grief?

By Melissa Lago // Pain—in the form of loss or an existential crises—whether spurred by a breakup or divorce, facing our own mortality or that of a loved one or the loss of an entire species or forest can touch us on the deepest level and sometimes break our hearts. Perhaps you are experiencing this now or have experienced this in the past. It seems that while each of us have our own unique stories, the raw experience of our pain and grief is universal.  How do we live in the face of these difficult experiences?  This is a question that I have asked myself throughout my life. And while I have had different answers at different times in my life, it is always some version of: Feel your breath. Feel your body. Notice the surfaces of your body making contact with the earth. Notice what is going on around you. What do you see? What sounds do you hear? What sensations are you experiencing? When pain cuts to the very core of our being …

Walking into Quiet

By Tim Gallati // We may not know it, but we have a well-established history with environmental noise. From 6th century Buddhist scriptures lamenting “the ten noises in a great city” to a desperate plea for quiet scribbled on a wall in ancient Pompeii, environmental noise has troubled us for millennia.* Today, environmental noise is pervasive. High volume noise like the blare of car horns in city traffic, the roar of airplanes overhead, a neighbor’s loud music vibrating in the walls; lower volume noise like the pulsating tones of data centers, the high crackled buzzing of electric wires. Environmental noise takes a toll on our bodies. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates 1 million years of healthy human life are lost each year from traffic noise in Europe. Long term exposure to noise increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, hypertension, cognitive impairment, anxiety, hearing loss and tinnitus, and sleep disturbances. Can we develop a healing relationship with sound in a noisy world?  One can begin by seeking out a quiet place with less noise. Developing …