All posts tagged: Art

[Video] Susan Piver Discusses Meditation and Writing

If someone were able to take a snapshot of your mind right now, what would it look like? If you were able to choose when this image would be taken, when would that be? What would you do to prepare? Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche says that as we practice meditation, our thoughts become more elegant — and likewise our spoken and written words, and the myriad other expressions (or snapshots) of mind. From that point of view, the link between meditation and writing seems to be quite clear: sit, settle, allow for some clarity, and then express. Meditation can also be helpful in navigating the obstacles that come up during the writing process, such as doubt, and can help us to fine-tune our relationship to our mind and world, so that what we express in writing is perhaps more luminous than it would be otherwise. The relationship between meditation and writing is a huge topic, and there are several avenues for exploration, including practical questions like “How can one find time for both writing and meditation?” …

WATCH: Susan Piver on Writing, Magic, and Meditation

You probably already know who Susan Piver is — because she is famous for helping people through her writing. She’s a New York Times Best-selling author of titles like How not to be Afraid of Your Own Life and The Wisdom of a Broken Heart. You probably already know that! But, what you may not know, what may come as a surprise, is that the main impetus for this writer — who has helped tens of thousands of people through her writing — is not to be helpful, necessarily. Rather, it is to discover something. If this makes you wonder about what it means to be a “helpful person” or an “artist” — good! In our recent interview, Susan spoke powerfully about the creative process and its healing potential, and how discovery is a phenomena that a writer can experience themselves, but cannot quite provide for readers. Rather, perhaps, they can set the stage. She quotes her teacher Saykong Mipham: “Don’t teach anyone anything. Help them discover something.” In a culture that seems full-up with opinion, …

Alan Watts: How to Stop Time — a short film by Jason Lee Segal

The humor and poetic sense with which British philosopher Alan Watts delivered his lectures is perhaps as celebrated as the content of the material itself — which was groundbreaking in bringing Eastern philosophical thought and spirituality to the west in the 1950s and 60s. In more recent years, this enthusiasm for Watts’s spoken word has manifested as a trend of creative online videos — fusing imagery, music, and audio recordings of the bard himself. Shambhala Mountain Center’s own Jason Lee Segal has recently published a freaking awesome contribution to this sub-genre — using visuals captured on the Shambhala Mountain land (and a few shots from surrounding mountain vistas). This isn’t the first time Jason has honored the majestic beauty of the SMC land and culture through his gorgeous filmmaking. And each time he does, it makes us want to dance! We hope this short film moves you as much as it moves us. And, check out more of Jason’s work here: http://jasonleesegal.com/  About the Authors Jason Lee Segal is a writer/director currently residing in Los Angeles, CA. He …

Watch: Chapman University at SMC

This January, a group of students from Chapman University, a liberal arts school in southern California, visited Shambhala Mountain Center for a course titled: Ancient Wisdom, Modern Madness: Mind, “Self”, and Society in Tibetan Buddhism. This collaboration between Chapman and SMC began in 1992, established by Michele Kiloran, which makes this most recent visit the 24th year. The majority of the course is held at Chapman’s campus, with the pinnacle being the ten-day retreat at SMC. Students have the opportunity to learn about traditional Tibetan Buddhism as well as the more secular teaching of Shambhala, with activities ranging from Ikebana, calligraphy, Kasung practice, yoga, Kyudo, and other aspects of Shambhala culture. There is also a fundamental emphasis on meditation and mindfulness practice. As a recent Chapman graduate myself, it was interesting to see this course in action and to experience the integration of these two worlds. Film student Jason Segal created the beautiful video montage above documenting the Chapman experience. You can visit his website here to see more of his work.    

Writing as a Path to Awakening

By Albert Flynn DeSilver Writing as a Path to Awakening is a dynamic and fun process using mindfulness as a way to deepen your writing practice and expand your creative potential. Spiritual practice has always brought insight to my writing—increasing the flow of ideas, the big open inclusive ideas of beauty and of being and of surrendering to a state of love and compassion. Too often we get pigeon-holed into false conceptions of ourselves. There are a million distractions, negative self talk, old voices of doubt and self recrimination often holding us back. We experience it in the form of writer’s block, in the creation of flat characters, in novels left half-written collecting dust on the table. I know if my heart of hearts when people have a safe place to express their true poetic self they can realize who they really are, and this process of awakening can change the world. If you take a look at the great spiritual teachers from around the world— Gandhi, the Dalai Lama, Amma, Thich Nhat Hanh — …

Floral Notes and Bardo: Snow Totoro (Snowtoro?) No Poem

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. I don’t want to start this post with poem Yesterday having tea up near the Stupa with dear buddy Frenchy (other people call him that), we discussed artistic engagement as path.  He is just finishing up an MFA in sculpture.  I am tip-toeing towards Naropa writing and poetics MFA program.  To do so I have to devote time every day to reading and writing — in addition to time on the cushion and studying dharma.  Devoting time, daily, as practice, to the arts feels like a departure at this point.  It feels unsanctioned.  I know I’m being a “good boy” if I am meditating and studying dharma.  How about if I’m reading poetry? This is revealing a tip of iceberg psychological complex that I believe is lurking in my mindstream.  I’d like therapy exploration someday. Anyway… it snowed …

Floral Notes and Bardo: Magnanimity, Bhanu, and the Back Nine

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. So sleepy this morning, both of us, and Heather said: “It’s cute that we have temples, huh? Like, my body is a temple, and my temple is a temple… And my temple is my body!” At breakfast, Director Gayner — who is in the midst of high-level Shambhala leadership retreat — in which they practice for 20 hours a day — approached Heather and I with a big grin. “Ahh! Just the two that I was hoping to see.  This is very auspicious.” We nodded, and he went on: “Magnanimity!  Do you know this word?” He’d like for us to come up with a calligraphed presentation of this word along with its definition from the 1812 Oxford English Dictionary (or something like that) as a gift for Richard Reoch, who is leading the retreat. We gladly agreed. ~~~ …

The No-Selfie: Miksang Contemplative Photography

  All photos in this article by Julie DuBose Discover how to see the world in a fresh way and express your full and complete experience through your camera. Miksang Contemplative Photography as developed by Michael Wood and Julie DuBose teaches us how to recognize the experience of direct visual perception — direct in this case means without the filters of our habitual ways of seeing and experiencing. In the interview below, Julie DuBose offers some wisdom related to this beautiful discipline. Click here to learn about our upcoming weekend workshop: Opening the Good Eye: Miksang Photography, April 2-5, 2015 — This is Not Just A Photography Class Watch our interview with Julie DuBose below, or scroll down to stream/download the audio, and to see more Miksang images. If you’d like to download the audio file, CLICK HERE and find the “Download” button. Otherwise, you can stream the audio below. Click here to learn about Julie DuBose’s upcoming retreat at SMC: Opening the Good Eye: Miksang Photography, April 2-5, 2015   Click here to learn about Julie DuBose’s upcoming retreat at SMC: Opening …

Floral Notes and Bardo: Come with Me — Haiku and Katharine

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. Deep tissue, heavy with ocean — blink and it’s mist. I had accumulated some savings, stability, now all gone to help kin. Yesterday at my desk, and Scott knocked on the door.  I opened and he took me by the arm: “Come with me.” I went with him, wearing the slippers that I wear inside the office. Katharine Kaufman — Zen teacher, poet, spontaneous movement angel, coolest person — had ordered him to do so, saying “Don’t take ‘no’ for an answer.” So I spent the morning with her studying and practicing haiku. I wrote: Wind is cold I am sitting in the shade I’m going indoors and then… The door is ajar The floor is cool People made these things Someone else wrote: Wind outside Fart inside Such suffering I said “That was the best haiku I …

Floral Notes and Bardo: Yesterday, Sitting Beside Sensei

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. Yesterday, sitting beside Sensei… As she introduced Ikebana to the students from Chapman University, from LA, who are here for a week to immerse in Shambhala culture in a program called “Ancient Wisdom: Modern Madness,” which we’ve been hosting here for 25 years. Sensei is musical in everything that she does; floral. Her speech, throughout the hour long talk — which touched on Japanese culture, Tao, Heaven, Earth, Humanity, flowers, flowers, branches, sticks and stones, meditation, avante garde, and more — was fluid. She told me afterwards that she used to be too shy and nervous to even make an announcement that lunch was ready. That quality of nervousness, she said, is gone. “It’s gone.” After the talk, my friend Noel remarked: “Sometimes I think that they shipped her in from another dimension.” “She’s floral,” I said. In …