All posts tagged: retreat

5 Things To Know About Meditating for a Whole Week

By Ryan Stagg // At the end of a recent week-long meditation retreat at Shambhala Mountain Center another participant remarked about how difficult it would be to explain her experience back home. “We sat a lot, walked in circles, and didn’t talk much,” she said with a laugh. And yet somehow after a week of performing this simple routine, often in complete silence, we all had smiles on our faces and a clear appreciation for the journey we had just completed. It was hard to pinpoint exactly what, but some transformation had undoubtedly occurred. The atmosphere in the room was simply lighter and more spacious. There is something very radical about choosing to go on a meditation retreat. In many ways it stands in contrast to the speediness and excitement of our everyday lives. It also creates a fundamental shift in our perspective—rather than seeking fulfillment externally, we resolve to sit and look inside, at our own bodies, hearts, and minds. The effects of embracing this contemplative perspective have long been promoted by practitioners and …

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.    

Lodro Rinzler Discusses Daily Meditation and Retreat

If you are reading this, you are most likely not in a cave somewhere in the Himalayas, without distraction, and devoting all of your days and evenings to meditation practice. More likely, you are a person with a job, relationships, and various commitments and interests in addition to meditation. You are a modern day meditation practitioner. Practitioner. Why do we use that word? That question is at the heart of much of Lodro Rinzler’s teachings. As he puts it, what we are practicing for, when we are sitting on the cushion, is the rest of the hours of our waking day. We meditate so that we can show up more fully: in our work, families, social gatherings, and so on. Enjoy the video above, or click below to stream the audio. If you’d like to download the audio file, click here and find the “Download” button. The idea of continuity is important here. Being a meditation practitioner is not just about putting in our time on the cushion, and then calling it quits until tomorrow’s session. …

Floral Notes and Bardo: Egg, Apparently

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. A world in which rock-people swirl as if only vapor, the sky answers in snowfall poem, and light allows dust to be messenger of song… A week of everything — some real, some imagined, some really imagined — up in the cabin — Sambhogakaya — and roaming an enchanted corner of the land.  Offering smoke and reciting, hearing, esoteric verses from inscrutable Trungpa — rather, “from” who? — some say this or that.  And so terrifying — possibilities open as if revealing the core of the earth.  The core of my being, beneath sage brush of comfort, mountain peaks of reassurance, forests of familiarity. Some uncertain lava sure to devour any versions of myself that I uphold which are not in accord with roaring truth, muse.  Cosmic.  The circumstances of my voice in the sunlight are far more …

Floral Notes and Bardo: Shoving Off

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. This morning on the hillside, standing — symphony dawn — witnessing: my preferences are like fleeting mosquitoes in the cosmos.  Yet, wondering… how big can I be? Tomorrow I’m going into a two week, group retreat: Enlightened Society Assembly. Yesterday, I spent time in the shrine tent with Shenpen, Sensei, working on a large installation.  It felt magical in there.  It felt refreshing.  There’s good substance to the Shambhala tradition, and I pray that this two week immersion may put me into touch, a bit deeper. Today, trying to “wrap things up” and prepare for the retreat.  Deciding what ends to leave loose.  How much to scramble in order to get things tidy, and how much to let go so I can go into this relaxed and well rested. I’ll be settling back into Avalokiteshvara …

Floral Notes and Bardo: Squirm, Squirm, Leap

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. There is no escaping the collective here.  The buzz in my skull is a shared reverberation.  There is internal and external chatter, and calm. This is the shrine in my yurt: Through my comical aversion to Kasungship, I’m recognizing my inclination towards maintaining my bubble.  I have an agenda.  I’ve been so worked up about things. I decided to plant myself for a day this past weekend.  A 24 hour retreat, to settle.  I went to the Stupa early in the morning, to be alone, in peace.  There were already people there.  I practiced for a while. I ate breakfast by myself in an aspen grove.  I made a sign and clipped it on my shirt: “Noble Silence,” indicating that I would rather not engage in conversation with anyone.  The noble silence badge is common …

Floral Notes and Bardo: Some Hallucinations

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. What am I afraid of? Feeling overwhelmed forever, failing in my endeavors, losing people’s approval, not achieving what I wish to, not receiving the recognition that I crave, not being special at all, being a grain of sand, being fundamentally mistaken, being nothing but a brief-luminous-flare. I really feel the need to go on retreat.  I’m all wound up.  I’m feeling clouded. But… It’s difficult to find the time.  Some people seem to think that living here is like being on one big retreat.  In a sense, that’s true.  But…  I work a lot here.  Most everybody that lives here works a lot.  Between the day-jobs that we have — which keep the business running — and our community service, obligations, participation…  it’s a lot. And… I just realized a couple of days ago that …

Connecting Tai Chi and Buddhism with Larry Welsh

By Travis Newbill Larry Welsh will be leading Flowing Like Water, Strong as a Mountain: Tai Chi Retreat, April 25-27 The ancient practice of Tai Chi Chuan has often been called the “supreme ultimate exercise.” When joined with mindfulness sitting meditation, these two forms bring forth a potent way to awaken health and restore well-being in body, mind, and spirit. Larry Welsh, MAc, MA, has trained in the Yang-style short form, listening hands and sword form of Tai Chi Ch’uan since 1977. Larry is Senior Adjunct Professor and Mindfulness-Meditation teacher in the Traditional Eastern Arts program at Naropa University. He practices Japanese Classical Acupuncture, herbal medicine and whole-food nutrition in Boulder, Colorado. Watch our interview with Larry Welsh below, or scroll down to stream/download the audio. If you’d like to download the audio file, CLICK HERE and find the “Download” button. Otherwise, you can stream the audio below. Larry Welsh will be leading Flowing Like Water, Strong as a Mountain: Tai Chi Retreat, April 25-27. To learn more, please click here.

Floral Notes and Bardo: Good-life Immersion

  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. A week of staff retreat–so, so good… Meditation in the mornings, talks from our teachers, a beautiful lahsang on day one, cooking meals for each other.  In the afternoons–activities: music group, art, nature, physical movement, study… So, peeps chose a track, grouped up, and got deep into those activities.  Some of us peeps got into music.  I facilitated the group and encouraged deep listening, space exploration, improvisation…  edgy spots, sweet spots, unexpected things.   And after we bravely improvised together, becoming braver as the days went on, we’d spend some time just hanging out with some tunes–Irish tunes, Brazilian jazz tunes…  everyone in the group was coming from a different place, musically, and so the improv was interesting and also the hangout section was lots of fun and varied. The first night of the retreat we held …

Floral Notes and Bardo: Golden Sky, Level 1.5

  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. Sun/torch brought close to buzzing fly–not to fry the lil’ baby, but to remind it of eventual disintegration. Golden water will vanish, and also: butterflies. Not so scared of tumbling into the dream. Time spent with sky and sparkling snow, and emotions, my friends and Teacher Steve. I was a helper for Shambhala Training Level I last weekend. Two years after I first took the program with David and Ethan Nichtern in NYC. It was a wonderful experience–again. After a full weekend–full heart, full of meditation, and awakening-moments, a walk around with friends up to my little house for a tea party. Then hiking back down–gazing 360 with amazement at the sunset. A lovely nap/sweet cuddle. Barely made dinner and heard about a party. Across the land again, now stars out–baffling. And giddy to be walking with this …