All posts filed under: Mindful Living

Cyndi Lee

Radical Inclusivity and Just Showing Up

By Cyndi Lee // The other day a friend of mine texted to cancel our lunch date. The reason, she wrote, was that her body wasn’t feeling well and was telling her it needed to rest. After wishing her a delicious nap and a speedy recovery, I couldn’t help but wonder about this conversation between her and her body. I pondered how it could be that her body is not her and, if so, who is she that isn’t a body? Of course, this brings up age-old questions about the nature of consciousness, impermanence, and the definition of the true self. But what I’m really struck with is how we separate ourselves from ourselves. The word yoga comes from the Sanskrit word, yuj, which is typically translated as to yoke or bind, to join, unite or re-unite. In other words, yoga is relationship. Of course, we know that mind and body are part of each other. You cannot have a body without a mind or a mind without a body. But sometimes we forget. One …

A Contemplative Approach to Viewing the Eclipse

By Andrea Schweitzer, Ph.D. in astronomy // There has been a lot of news about the upcoming “Great American Solar Eclipse” on August 21, 2017.  If you are able to get to a location for totality of the eclipse, it will be an incredible experience to remember.  Or, if you’re only able to see the partial eclipse, that is enjoyable and worthwhile, too! There is a lot of detailed information being published about the eclipse *(see resources below). I would like to suggest that it is also important to contemplate how you might like to feel as you witness this celestial event. Hopefully this will be a memory to last a lifetime, and that is worth considering in advance. Quiet and Reflective Observe the eclipse from under a tree, and be surrounded by a myriad of crescent suns. Play with your fingers and enjoy the “pinhole projection”  effect. Celebratory Invite others to join you, and plan an eclipse party.  There are many educational activities  for kids and adults that you can do before and during the eclipse. …

Mindful Hiking

Practicing Mindfulness and Awareness in Nature

By Kay Peterson // A passing rainstorm doesn’t have to ruin a hike if we remember to bring a raincoat or don’t mind temporarily getting a little wet! The clouds are certain to pass and we may even be left feeling stronger and more rejuvenated than we expected. Our emotional landscape is much like the weather – we may not be able to control it, but we do have power over our reactions to it. As human beings, we have a tendency to gravitate toward pleasurable experiences and to avoid potentially painful ones. One could argue that some of that tendency is a by-product of important survival instincts. We need to be able to identify and act when we encounter potentially life-threatening situations. However, this “instinct” can also run amok – especially these days when we rarely find ourselves being chased by dinosaurs 😉 Sometimes that part of the brain that alerts us to potential danger has been trained to be reactive – to be especially sensitive – often due to some kind of trauma …

Insight Meditation

Living Fully, Loving Well—Reflections on the Awakened Heart

By David Chernikoff I first became interested in death and dying in my early teens. It wasn’t a choice as much as a necessity. Because of numerous early losses, most of them sudden and unexpected, I felt deeply drawn to understand the essence of living and dying at a time when most of my peers were preoccupied with very different concerns. At the time, I had the sense that I’d been singled out, bullied by an uncaring universe or an incomprehensible God. Looking back, I can see the blessings that were wrapped in the painful packages of grief and trauma that touched my life so many years ago. Those events shaped the unfolding of my journey in a way that is clearly evident in retrospect. It’s not surprising that I chose to study psychology, religion, and theology in the years that followed. I was passionately interested in the way we heal our hearts, bodies, and minds as well as “big picture” questions related to why things happen the way they do. In my late twenties …

Compassionate Acceptance as a Path of Healing

By Thomas Roberts // How often do we embark on our spiritual growth journeys with the well-meaning intention of improving, changing, quieting, calming, or otherwise modifying ourselves? Thinking that if we just get it right, then our demons will finally leave us alone! I know I did. With that approach, the harder we work at it, the more conflicted, frustrated, anxious, self-berating, and distant it seems we become from that goal we so want to achieve. A long time ago, I was talking with a fellow journeyer about this whole conundrum. She said: “You know it’s kind of like training a dog by locking it in the basement and hoping it will eventually become a nice dog. Hmmm… In truth, we simply cannot silence—or otherwise lock away—those parts of ourselves that are wounded, messy, difficult and scary. They need to be recognized, accepted, and held with great love and compassion. And this brings us to the notion of compassionate acceptance. After all, the guts of our spiritual/healing journey is not about silencing, changing, or becoming …

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 that …

Yoga Meditation

retreat

By Katharine Kaufman // Of all ridiculous things the most ridiculous seems to me, to be busy—to be a man who is brisk about his food and his work.                                               ~ Kierkegaard Snow falls in the early morning at Hokoji. First bells ring at 5:25. Warm inside. Quiet is palpable. Dim light in Zendo, and snow outside softens, cushions.  I think I hear one snowflake drop.  Even our breaths are quiet, bears in their cove. Then I hear scraping. Really loud! What is that!? I imagine a giant creature. Oh, shoveling. Arthur decides to skip the morning sit and shovel in the dark. REALLY? Can’t we just sit here together? But now Arthur is gone and the memory is dear. …Now I say, dear Arthur. What would it take to let the snow drop all around with no response but to breathe in and breathe out. ~ Ned Hallowell, psychiatrist and author of Driven to Distraction says, “We reach for our devices as if we were grabbing from the bowl of m & m’s on the …

Lucid Dream Yoga

Andrew Holecek on the Science and Spirituality of Lucid Dream Yoga

In recent years, lucid dreaming has become a widely recognized phenomena, and gradually, the methods for accessing deeper dimensions of the dream world are emerging into the mainstream as well. Andrew Holecek, who has been practicing and teaching dream yoga for three decades, sees this traditional practice as a likely next stage in the Western world’s yearning for realization—which has brought yoga studios to every street corner, and mindfulness meditation to the covers of magazines in grocery store checkout lines. In this interview with Shambhala Mountain Center, Andrew discusses some of the current research on lucid dreaming, as well as the possibilities that dream yoga presents for taking full advantage of dream lucidity. He also draws parallels between the popularity of lucid dreaming and that of hatha yoga and mindfulness—as each of these three practices have their own virtues, and are also considered to be entryways into much vaster experiences within long–established contemplative traditions. Enjoy the full video interview below, or scroll down to stream or download the audio. Shambhala Mountain Center hosts Lucid Dream …

Sara Avant Stover: Springtime Detox & Renewal Advice for Women

Sara Avant Stover Offers Springtime Detox & Renewal Advice for Women

By Sara Avant Stover // Every woman, whether or not she realizes it, is a creative genius. Within her lives the capacity to bring forth new life and to regenerate during each moon cycle and each spring. Life, and our vitality, bursts forth in the springtime. This season calls your innate creativity to awaken and make itself known, just as a seedling pushes through the thawing soil past roots and rocks toward the light. Now your visions and deep dreaming from the winter come into being. Nature’s New Year arrives in the spring because it heralds a rebirth into a whole new you. Sara Avant Stover leads The Way of the Happy Woman Spring Detox & Renewal Retreat, May 11–14, 2017 at Shambhala Mountain Center — click here to learn more Officially arriving on March 2o with the spring equinox in the northern hemisphere, the spring exhales the intoxicating fragrance of radical possibility. Who do you want to be now? How do you want to live? What’s ready to come to life inside you? We can …