All posts filed under: Mindful Living

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 …

Women, Food, and Forgiveness Part 5: How Do We Live Forgiveness?

By Marcella Friel // Editor’s Note: This post is the fifth in a five-part series on Women, Food, and Forgiveness by mindful eating and body image coach Marcella Friel. Her 5-day retreat, Women, Food, and Forgiveness, opens April 19, 2017. Click here to learn more and register. “Self-love is the only weight loss aid that really works in the long run.” ~ Jenny Craig “I’ve gained 10 pounds in the last two weeks. I’m so disappointed in myself. I should be over this by now.” These were the words of my client Linda in yesterday’s session. They were nothing new. “Linda,” I suggested, “I wonder if your true addiction is not to the food but to the disappointment? Might you be using your food behaviors to maintain your story of being disappointed in yourself?” Linda fell silent but was open to my suggestion. I asked her to close her eyes, place a hand on her heart, take a few deep breaths, and tell me all the things she genuinely loved and appreciated about herself. She …

Food Coach Marcella Friel on Buddhism, Body Image, and Forgiveness

Careful reflection or speaking with a contemplative eating coach can easily lead to the insight that our relationship with food is intimately woven into every aspect of our lives. From the gut to global society, consciousness to consumerism—what and how we eat shapes not only our bodies but our whole experience of the world. In some cases, it may be more pronounced: binging, purging, and obsessing. On other levels it may be slower, or more subtle. But every action has endless results, and the food we buy, chew, and swallow is most definitely not exempt from this truth known as karma. As a longtime buddhist practitioner and food coach, Marcella Friel has a lot to say about all of this. Far from simply designing weight–loss plans, her work of guiding people in their journeys with food involves supporting them as they confront the deepest levels of their self–identity as well as coaching them in bringing forgiveness to wounded areas of their beings.   Intense as it is, the fruition of this work seems to be well worth it, as …