All posts filed under: Nature

Big Sky, Big Mind: Discussing Contemplative Astronomy with Andrea Schweitzer, PhD

  Shambhala Mountain Center hosts Big Sky, Big Mind: Contemplative Astronomy Workshop with Andrea Schweitzer and Jim Tolstrup, September 5–7, 2014. Throughout history, we have looked to the skies to follow the rhythm of the seasons and to ponder life’s mysteries. Andrea Schweitzer is on a cosmic mission to reignite our passion for the stars by using interactive, kinesthetic astronomy to experience the movement of the celestial bodies. In this interview, she shares her inspiration and and guides our gazes skyward. If you’d like to download the audio file, CLICK HERE and find the “Download” button. Otherwise, you can stream the audio below. ~~~ Andrea Schweitzer, PhD, is an astronomer with the Little Thompson Observatory in Berthoud, Colorado. Having collaborated with NASA on programs such as the Hubble Space Telescope and the Voyager missions, she balances her work with her personal practices of stargazing, yoga, and meditation.

Floral Notes and Bardo: Truly… Hug Trees

By Travis Newbill Floral Notes and Bardo: The Creative Chronicles of a Shambhala Mountain Resident is a daily feature on the SMC blog in which a member of our staff/community shares his experience of existing as part of Shambhala Mountain Center. (Notes from the Four Seasons Program: Exploring Trees and Wildflowers) I hung out with plants all weekend. Photo by Jim Tolstrup And Jim… In the meadows and wetlands On the northern and southern slopes Beneath my feet around my house Dating back ages… A whole world of vibrant, fluid life in the form of plants: ancient trees wildflowers, brief I met a lot learned their names, and a bit about them New friends! All over the place! There is one version of the world on the TV news There is another version of the world in the forest, meadows, wetlands on the southern and northern slopes This experience is always available: Lay on my back, face towards the sun pretend to be a flower The wood laying around on the ground is old: Maybe several …

Floral Notes and Bardo: The Aliveness of Rocks (Plus Badminton)

By Travis Newbill Floral Notes and Bardo: The Creative Chronicles of a Shambhala Mountain Resident is a daily feature on the SMC blog in which a member of our staff/community shares his experience of existing as part of Shambhala Mountain Center. Last night, a conversation around the dinner-picnic table regarding the uncertainty about what distinguishes a ground squirrel from a chipmunk from a prairie dog.  In other news, the Delek Badminton Tournament begins next week — we’re choosing partners and awesome team names.  My partner, Avajra John, doesn’t want to be a team: “I want to be something better than a team!” (Team name: 2Bad Mittens) Our approach, it seems, will be more psychological than athletic.  He and I share an affinity for weird, and costume, and weird. I also have an affinity for this seat on the porch behind Manjushri (cabin). This morning, I had a good idea for a blog.  I forgot to put it in my thumb.  A teacher once shared a tip with me: She is a writer.  She said that when …

Spring at 8,000 Feet

by Jared Leveille Jared Leveille is the Land Steward of Shambhala Mountain Center.   The invigorating quality of spring is making itself evident throughout the land. Bright green grasses and many-hued wildflowers are breaking through last year’s decay, birds are calling for the rising sun, and the creeks are full with the rush of snowmelt. We all feel the season brimming with possibility and renewal. I heard the first rumble of thunder a moment ago, off a ways, and listen as it reverberates across the valley– speaking a promise of rain, which is so precious in this arid climate. There is a tingling in my skin as I breathe the crisp air in the fading light. My first few land crew volunteers have arrived, and I love experiencing our mountain valley anew through their fresh eyes. We have a lot of projects to work on, but know how precious it is to have the opportunity to really get our hands dirty– to touch the earth. I encourage you to visit the land stewardship’s new Facebook page – Shambhala …

Rediscovering the Place of Nature

By Martin Ogle Martin Ogle recently lead  the weekend program”Engaging the Rhythms of our Living Earth” and is one of the main organizers of the Four Seasons Program. The weekend retreat, “Engaging the Rhythms of our Living Earth,” was a delightful experience for me.  It not only provided the opportunity to share ideas of profound interest to me, but also to learn from the perspectives of a marvelous group of participants and from the land and history of Shambhala Mountain Center:  A long-time Shambalian and genetics professor offered insights into the synergy of science and spirituality.  Artists and poets shared moving reflections on the beauty and mystery of the land.  And, the symbolism of the Great Stupa blended seamlessly with our inquiry into how our human lives can be in synchronicity or discord with the rhythms of nature.  I believe these insights – and the retreat’s purpose of re-discovering the pace of Nature in scientific, spiritual and mindful ways – set a marvelous foundation for SMC’s Four Seasons Program. Photo by Greg Smith The name,”Four Seasons …

Deepening Our Connection: SMC’s Land Steward on the Four Seasons Program

By Jared Leveille Jared Leveille is the Land Steward of Shambhala Mountain Center.   2014 is an exciting year for environmentally based programming, and it got off to a great start in March with Martin Ogle‘s program “Gaia: Engaging the Rhythms of our Living Earth“.  As a participant of the weekend, I was thrilled to help engage the group in closer observation of the land as we explored storytelling, solo observation points in nature, art, symbology and journaling.  The Gaia Theory- which describes the earth as a single living system depending upon a myriad of contributory relationships, interactions and processes shares an interesting common thread with a major tenet of Buddhist philosophy- interdependence- which surmises that all phenomena, human life included, exists in mutual dependence upon one another.  Among the group were scientists, educators, environmentalists and nature lovers and each one of us had something important and relevant to share over the weekend, which seemed to support the ideas we were delving into. ‘Exploring Trees and Wildflowers‘, our next program in the Four Seasons series, …

Engaging the Rhythms of Our Living Earth Part 2

By Martin Ogle Martin Ogle will be leading Gaia: Engaging the Rhythms of Our Living Earth, March 21-23 In the previous blog post, I briefly introduced the scientific view of Earth as a living system. In the quest to Engage the Rhythms of our Living Planet, let us expand our exploration . . . When James Lovelock returned to England from working with NASA, a friend and neighbor was none other than William Golding, author of Lord of the Flies. Upon hearing Lovelock’s ruminations of a living planet, Golding urged his friend to name the idea “Gaia,” after the Greek Goddess of Earth. He felt this would honor the fact that Western science was rediscovering what ancient Western Culture held sensed mythically: that Earth is alive and that we are a part of her life. The mythical connection reminded us, that the human mind has, indeed, co-evolved seamlessly with a living Earth. When, in the distant past, ancestral humans crossed a threshold of mental development to acquire self-awareness and awareness of time similar to that of …

Mind, Body, Earth: We Are Part of A Living System (AUDIO)

  Martin Ogle will be leading Gaia: Engaging the Rhythms of Our Living Earth, March 21-23 In this interview, Naturalist Martin Ogle discusses Gaia Theory, which is the idea that Earth and everything on the surface of Earth–water, air, rock, and organisms–together form a living system. The minds and bodies of human beings, he says, are a powerful component. For more from Martin Olge, check out his two part series on our blog: Engaging the Rhythms of Our Living Earth–part 1 and part 2 We hope that you enjoy this interview. If you’d like to download the audio file, CLICK HERE and find the “Download” button. Otherwise, you can stream the interview below.

Engaging the Rhythms of our Living Earth Part 1

By Martin Ogle Martin Ogle will be leading Gaia: Engaging the Rhythms of Our Living Earth, March 21-23 In essence, this upcoming retreat will explore how our human mind perceives and fits in with where it came from! If we accept that our physical bodies evolved from this planet, it is a short leap to understanding our minds as originating from the same source. We are the conscious awareness of Earth! In this, the first-of-two blog posts, I introduce the scientific idea of Earth as a living system, setting the foundation for a second installment that will more fully tie our human awareness to rhythms of our planet. In the 1960s, NASA wanted to know if there was life on Mars, yet a Mars mission was still decades away. The agency hired James Lovelock, a British chemist, doctor and inventor to look into it. Lovelock decided on a simple test, one that could be done from Earth. Studying Mars with a spectrophotometer, he observed that it had an inert atmosphere (one in which “nothing was …