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On Being a Teacher

By Susan Piver // I just finished teaching two retreats at Dechen Choling Retreat Center in France, “The Open Heart Retreat” followed by “Fearless Creativity: A Meditation and Writing Retreat.” On the last day of the last program, a student kindly asked what it felt like for me when a retreat was over. Our group was sitting at the breakfast table in the main building, a chateau dating back more than a hundred years. The land was in full June bloom and the only sounds were bird calls. We were so far away from our regular lives, whether in New York, London, Amsterdam, or right down the road in the village and I could feel the glow of retreat all around. There were expressions of appreciation for what we had experienced and also sadness at leaving this place and each other. “Retreat magic” refers to the feeling one gets after days and days of quieting the mind and turning inward. It is far from sleepy. It is not particularly “relaxing,” rather, it is enlivening, a …


The Science of Meditation | How Mindfulness Improves Everything

In this video, Culadasa (John Yates, PhD.) explains how mindfulness improves everything.  In July, he’ll be leading the Science of Meditation retreat at Shambhala Mountain Center. Shambhala Mountain Center hosts The Science of Meditation: Buddhist Wisdom Meets Modern Brain Science with Culadasa, July 5–9, 2017 — click here to learn more About the Author Culadasa (John Yates, Ph.D.) is the director of Dharma Treasure Buddhist Sangha in Tucson, Arizona and author of The Mind Illuminated: A Complete Meditation Guide Using Buddhist Wisdom and Brain Science. A meditation master with over four decades of experience in the Tibetan and Theravadin Buddhist traditions, Culadasa also taught physiology and neuroscience for many years. He combines the original teachings of the Buddha with an emerging, scientific understanding of the mind to give students a rich and rare opportunity for rapid progress and profound insight.

Groundhog Day Hey Bill Murray

Rinpoche’s gaze — I know. Black ink smeared across my small plywood desk. When I pour water into small clay pot and there is over flow, or when I pour fresh-brewed oolong from pot and there is spillage, when it puddles on the desk for a moment, it releases, re-liquefies, ink which hit the desk — as spillage or splatter or follow-through — while executing Ashe previously. Heavy snow the last couple of days — two feet or so. Yesterday, Groundhog Day!  Heather shone.  She loves that strange holiday, and I do as well, thanks to her.  While the white men in top hats gathered in Gobbler’s Knob in Puxatawny, PA, Heather and I rolled around in bed, sung and loved.  After meditation, recorded a song.  I went to work.  Heather went to work too.  Here’s what she worked on: creating a Groundhog Day celebration space in the dining room featuring activities — coloring books, crossword puzzles and such — Groundhog Day fun facts, banners, flags, decorations of all sorts — including herself with a …

Floral Notes and Bardo: Soothing Shifts

Pesky flies and mice of mind, rich tea, blazing, devastating, haunting sunrise, depression — a dark patch within splendor.  Summer falling away, moaning, the crisp speckles of autumn appearing like feather-touch in the leaves, the aspens, fall. Soothing few, after far too many. Group laughter, swaying conversation, intimate, around the picnic table last night.  A home run meal turned out by Adam and the crew — veggie burgers, potato wedges, Brussels sprouts, fish for the fish-eaters, big old acorn squash, hummus on the salad bar, crumbled tofu, and… oh, big, huge, warm, gooey brownies.  I gathered a heaping plate for the table and we chowed down. So drastically different, all of a sudden.  And a nice big shipment of Dong Ding tea arrived in the mail yesterday.  Quite good! Heather and I made reservations to stay at a sheep-farm-winery in a cute little room previously used for farm workers.  Turns out the annual Harvest Festival will be taking place that weekend in some small valley a few hundred miles away from this one. Soothing shifts. …

Learn About SMC Rental Spaces

Did you know that SMC rents its spaces to outside groups for workshops and retreats? We host a variety of religious and spiritual groups, as well as schools, universities, non-profits, businesses, and more! We provide a unique setting where groups can come together to connect in retreat, surrounded by the beauty of the natural world and removed from distractions and speed. If there’s anyone you know who may be interested please share and check out this video of our program spaces! To inquire about rental opportunities, please contact: Click Here to Learn More about Renting a Space at SMC

Floral Notes and Bardo: Complete in Process

By Travis Newbill Floral Notes and Bardo: The Creative Chronicles of a Shambhala Mountain Resident is a regular feature on the SMC blog in which a member of our staff/community shares his experience of existing as part of Shambhala Mountain Center. This all consuming glow, inviting me to go forth from self concern, to love perfectly.  A work in process that is never incomplete. Making plans and letting them drop; keeping the tires off the line; big wave picks me up–flourishing.  Then, I want that to always be the case.  Then I fall off a bit, resisting all the way.  Then, I let go.  Then, things are simpler.  Then, I have the space of mind to be organized again and flourish. Meanwhile, chaos is terrifying, abundant, and the source of all great explosions of art. Who am I to talk about the source? Some artistic activity attempts to present a tidy package.  Maybe sometimes it’s appropriate.  Much of the time though, it seems that the name of the game is fluidity.  Ever shifting life.  The dharma …

Hope Martin on The Shape of Awake

In this video, Hope Martin introduces herself and her unique approach to working with meditators in a retreat context — helping them to realize more ease and freedom in their practice and beyond. Shambhala Mountain Center hosts Week-Long Fall Meditation Retreat: The Shape of Awake with Hope Martin, November 11-19, 2017 — click here to learn more  

Engaged Mindfulness | Learning to Be Socially Engaged: Rhonda Magee

Rhonda Magee, MA (Sociology), JD, speaks about the inherent interconnectedness of human society and how that interconnected stretches across every dimension of our experience. As mindfulness practitioners, it is our role to recognize this interconnectedness and avoid the conventional barriers that keep us from engaging in the social needs that on a surface level may seem unrelated to us. The Engaged Mindfulness Retreat will be held from June 16-20, 2017 at the Shambhala Mountain Center — click here to register