Radical Self Healing

By Charley Cropley

Shambhala Mountain Center hosts Radical Self-Healing with Charley Cropley, N.D., October 3–5, 2014. 

You are innately Self-Healing. You passionately love yourself and you are endowed with the intelligence and power to Heal yourself. You simply have not ever been taught how to do this.

You do this by performing your most ordinary daily activities, eating, moving, thinking and relating with love and wisdom. i.e. with your spirit.

The challenge is that you are bound by a lifetime of habits. Stupid, selfish, harmful habits that are compulsive, even addictive. You have been unconsciously entrained in these sick behaviors by your family and culture. These habit “demons” govern every aspect of your behavior and are the cause of your illness and suffering.

To heal your body, you must Heal the ways you use your body. The ways you nourish, move and rest her.

To Heal your mind, you must Heal the ways you use your mind; the ways you judge and criticize yourself, the emotions you are addicted to and the ones you refuse to feel; and, above all, your deeply rooted beliefs about who you are; and your power to Heal your body and mind.

These habits do not die easily. There is only one way to Heal them. You must find your true identity that loves you more than your false self loves… well chocolate, coffee and wine; or slouching and self-criticism; or gossip and people pleasing.

You must be willing to approach your sick, addicted, stupid, selfish, altogether embarrassing self with great compassion and complete honesty. In short, you must cultivate a relationship, a living dialogue between your suffering self and your wise, compassionate self. You must come to intimately understand the sick parts of your psyche. Embrace them as a mother does her child and patiently re-educate them to behave as more responsible, adult members of your larger bodily, psychic community.

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In the weekend program I’ll be leading at Shambhala Mountain Center, you will come to appreciate that you are constantly receiving specific instructions from your body, your mind and from other people telling you exactly what to do and not do. You are being spoken to, constantly by Life, by the Divine. Your body is telling you unerringly how to feed her, move her and rest her. Your mind and heart (emotional body) do the same. The art is re-learning how to understand this sensory, mental, emotional language; As a gardener listens to the language of plants, you must return to this caring, innocent curiosity towards yourself. This is innate, natural to you.

“Radical Self-Healing” will teach you how to directly connect with your own innate goodness in a no nonsense, absolutely real way. You will then practice, both alone and in groups, expressing this source of Self-Healing in the ways you eat, move, think and relate.

The art of Self-Healing is a brutal war, an elegant dance, a living marriage between our “seemingly” opposing demons of habit and the angels of Health.

You will at least come away with a sense that your most ordinary activities are living sacraments, in which your lovers and enemies, your human and divine wrestle.

Through instruction, meditation, visualization, writing, conversation and real practice, both alone and in groups, you will taste the flavor of “Radical-Self-Healing”.

We have two days, 8 meals, two showers… to practice wielding your Self-Healing power through the ways you eat, move, think and relate. You may return to your life with a clearer understanding and greater confidence that you yourself are what Heals you.

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Be sure to check out:

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Charley-CropleyCharley Cropley, ND, is a Naturopathic physician who after 35 years of practice, uses no medicines. He teaches his clients that they are endowed with Self-Healing capacities exactly equal to their condition. They learn that illness itself is what heals them. It awakens their love of themselves and guides them in the heroic work of Healing their own self-harming ways.

Family Camp at Shambhala Mountain

Picture 2Article by Rachel Seely, photos by Samira Caamano

Family Camp at Shambhala Mountain Center is a special time to appreciate and value ourselves, our children, our families and friendships, and our culture. Taking the time to focus on this aspect of life in a contemplative and supportive atmosphere is a gift that I will always cherish. And one I believe my daughter will as well. This year’s Family Camp was SMC’s largest in many years. We had over 108 participants, which included 65 children, 27 who went through the Rites of Passage program.

Having that many children on the land brought blessings of wakefulness and freedom. Immediately the children developed their own relationships to each other and the land. Parents often marveled at the feeling of being held by the land, which is no small feat when in the process of letting go physically and emotionally to our children. The land became a cradle for the kids to explore the phenomenal world in a safe and accommodating manner. Kids ran freely within the space, with only the occasional reminder to be quiet near the main shrine tent and lodge rooms. They were always on the move, having fun, exploring new things, taking risks and developing new relationships with each other, their parents, and the land itself. I was personally excited to experience the land in a new way too. It felt as if the land perked up and responded wakefully to the fresh energy of the children’s exploration and wonder. I noticed many things on the land that I had not noticed before.

Our days started with family meditation, often led by previous Rites of Passage graduates. A sense of ownership and leadership was instilled into the children’s programming from the start. We were lucky to have brilliant and skillfulPicture 3 coordinators for our 2014 Family Camp. Steve Sachs and Rachel Steele lead our program, accompanied by the Rites of Passage teachers, Kelly Lindsey and Kerry MacLean. We also had the special honor of having Acharya Dan Hessey open our Family Camp with a beautiful, simple explanation of Lhasang and Lhasang ceremony, followed by an introduction to Shambhala Meditation for children and parents. I felt this clearly established the ground for the time we would spend together. The space of basic goodness and the acceptance of vulnerability was felt and appreciated throughout the program as parents worked with their hearts and minds, as well as the hearts and minds of their children and partners. I often swelled with tears as I experienced immense gratitude for what we were choosing to do together and for our children.

The children’s program was split up into age groups for morning activities while parents were given time to themselves for practice or personal time. Each day we had a parenting circle led by Steve Sachs in which we explored parenting and child rearing from the point of view of basic goodness. We were all touched by the vulnerability and insight which arose from each other as we explored aspects of ourselves and our children that were troublesome or confusing. I left the parenting groups feeling supported, enriched, and empowered to transform aspects of my parenting style and the ways in which I view my daughter and her behaviors. Afternoons consisted of “unfettered time” and family activities. Parents and children were introduced to the theme of working with the elements, and the traditional Buddhist Maitri Rooms developed by Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche to help us connect with nature, the elements, and the energies within ourselves. We also had many wonderful circles of singing, a talent show where fearlessness manifested abundantly, nature walks, a final banquet and an amazing dance party. We had a lot of fun!

A significant aspect of Family Camp was the Rites of Passage ceremony. The children in this group worked together all week learning contemplative arts such as calligraphy, kyudo, ikebana, poetry, bowing and lighting a shrine. They are encouraged, through their participation in the Rites of Passage program, to be in the world with gentleness and fearlessness and to begin to take more responsibility within the family and society. Parents are encouraged to trust and support their children as they let go of old ways of being together and habits holding on. These children shined as they went through the powerful “letting go” ceremony with their parents. Many parents and witnesses were touched by the significance and simplicity of the ceremony.

I really can’t say enough good things about Family Camp and the wonderful people who coordinated this program. I am fortunate that my daughter has been able to participate in Family Camp for two years at SMC. If you ask her she will tell you, “I love Family Camp.” It is something we look forward to every year individually and as a family. And now that Family Camp at Shambhala Mountain Center is growing, we will look forward to seeing other families year after year as our children grow up together and learn to be “who they are” in the world and with each other. I truly feel that having the support of this kind of family community rooted in basic goodness will not only help our children find peace within, but will help them be empowered as they face the difficulties and future of our struggling society.

FamilyCamp3Here’s what several children had to say about it this year:

“I have a much better handle on meditation. I also learned that I am a WARRIOR!! In the future, I know that I will be thankful that SMC taught me this. I will always strive to be kind, gentle, and fearless.” –Ava Keel

“I learned to appreciate the elements, love this area even more, and to appreciate all the teachers so much!” –Sheldon P. Williams

“(I learned) so so so much patience.” –Matthew

“(My favorite part was) all the love,  support, and kindness from almost everyone.” –Sierra Karsh

“I learned about fire, earth, air, water, and space. I also learned how to meditate more and calm myself down and that the warriors shout ‘Eeee!’ when they are shooting in kyuodo.” –Maxine Rhodes

 

 

Loving Your Way to Enlightenment: Discussing Relationships and Spirituality with Camilla Figueroa


Camilla Figueroa co-leads, along with Keith Kachtick, Loving Your Way to Enlightenment: Ancient Wisdom for the Modern Couple, September 12–14

There’s a Buddhist belief that a genuinely loving relationship is the practice for which all other practices are preparation.  In this conversation, we explore romantic partnership as an opportunity for spiritual awakening and cultivating unconditional love as a path to enlightenment.

Camilla Figueroa, MSW and founder of Dharma Yoga Therapy recently took the time to have some discussion with us on this ever-relevant topic.  Please click below to her our conversation.  And, if you’d like to download the audio, click here and find the “Download” button.

Also, be sure to check out Keith Kachtick’s recent post Ancient Wisdom for the Modern Couple: The Metaphor of Ya​b-Yum.

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Camilla-FigueroaCamilla Figueroa, MSW, is founder of Dharma Yoga Therapy and is certified in Thai Yoga Massage, Dharma Yoga and Phoenix Rising Therapy.

Eurasian Collared Doves from Bahamian Pet Shop

By Richard SwabackDoves

Sitting atop power lines near Facility Shop at Shambhala Mountain Center, 7 August 2014

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Photo Credits: Richard Swaback

Link to sound recording:
Males give the distinctive koo-KOO-kook call to defend territories and attract mates. The call may be repeated 3–12 times with the middle syllable much longer than the first and last.
The collared-dove’s mournful koo-KOO-kook call is shorter, more impatient, and more frequent than that of the Mourning Dove.

Eurasian Collared Doves made their way to North America via the Bahamas, where several birds escaped from a pet shop during a mid-1970s burglary; the shop owner then released the rest of the flock of approximately 50 doves. Others were set free on the island of Guadeloupe when a volcano threatened eruption. From these two sites the birds likely spread to Florida, and now occur over most of North America.

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References: The Cornell Lab of Ornithology

Ancient Wisdom for the Modern Couple: The Metaphor of Ya​b-Yum

By Keith Kachtick

Keith Kachtick leads Loving Your Way to Enlightenment: Ancient Wisdom for the Modern Couple, September 12–14

In Letters to a Young Poet, Rainer Maria Rilke makes clear that a loving, romantic relationship is the practice for which all other mindfulness practices are the groundwork. “Love is high inducement for the individual to ripen, to become world for himself for another’s sake.” The ancient Tibetan tantric practice of Yab-Yum recognizes that romantic coupling is as an opportunity for profound spiritual awakening, a practice that invites us—deeply challenges us—to love our way to enlightenment.

Traditionally, in Buddhist thangkas and sculptures depicting Yab-Yum, the confluence of “masculine” compassion and “feminine” wisdom is presented metaphorically in the sexual union of a male deity, seated in Padmasana (lotus pose), with his female consort facing him on his lap. The symbolism is two-fold: Yab-Yum (literally “father-mother” in Tibetan) implies a mystical union of karuna and prajna within our own individual nature—the two Dharma wings that lift each of us to buddhahood; united, the two awakened beings (regardless of gender) then give birth to a romantic communion embodying the blissful, non-dual state of enlightenment.

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Much easier said than done, of course. But for anyone in a committed relationship, the Yab-Yum ideal of unconditional love—borne out of opening our hearts and fine-tuning our communication skills, as well as deepening our understanding of our partner’s needs and desires—is an opportunity and wonderful challenge to recognize and celebrate the highest in ourselves and in each other.

Ultimately, it’s all about soulful harmonizing. “We know little, but that we must hold to what is difficult is a certainty that will not forsake us,” Rilke reminds us. “It is good to be solitary, for solitude is difficult. That something is difficult must be a reason the more for us to do it. To love is good, too: love being difficult. For one human being to love another: that is perhaps the most difficult of all our tasks, the ultimate, the last test and proof, the work for which all other work is but preparation. This more human love resembles that which we have prepared for with struggle and toil all our lives: a love that consists in this, that two solitudes protect and border and salute one another.”

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Also, be sure to check out our recent interview with Camilla Figueroa: Loving Your Way to Enlightenment: Discussing Relationships and Spirituality

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Keith-KachtickKeith Kachtick, founder of Dharma Yoga, has taught meditation and yoga worldwide since 1999. Keith writes for Yoga Journal and is author of You Are Not Here & Other Works of Buddhist Fiction and Hungry GhostHe co-leads, along with Camilla Figueroa, Loving Your Way to Enlightenment: Ancient Wisdom for the Modern Couple, September 12–14 at Shambhala Mountain Center. To learn more, please click here.

The Willow is a Wonderful Host

By Richard Swaback

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The green-red fruit-like looking structure on this willow (Salix spp.),located on the edge of Lake Sunyata, is a gall (abnormal outgrowth of plant tissue) produced in concert with the sawfly (Pontania s-pomum).

In the spring a female inserts and egg that induces galling into leaf tissue. The leaf produces a gall which is bean-shaped, smooth and emerges equally on both sides of the leaf. the gall may be green, red or yellow. A single larva feeds in the cavity of each gall. (Nyman et al 2000: 526-533)

Above the sawfly gall is a cabbage-like looking structure…yes that is also a gall…produced by the Willow Cabbage Gall Midge (Rabdophaga salicisbrassicoides).

“I mean really…”

“Learning is any change in a system that produces a more or less permanent change in its capacity for adapting to its environment.”  –  Herbert A. Simon

Establishing the Ground

By Ryan Stagg

Ryan Stagg is a Shambhala Mountain Center community-staff member.

Today I rose with the sun and trekked up to the Great Stupa to meditate within its silent sanctuary. As I moved along the path my nose and ears went numb in the cold air that had settled in the valley overnight. The creek was burbling and there was a hint of warmth in the freshening morning breeze. Then I listened to the crunching gravel as I circumambulated the stupa, letting my breath and heart slow from the hike and with any luck accruing a little merit for the day ahead. My eyes were teary from the cold and the pollen, and I had the sensation that the whole earth was made to spin about the stupa by my strolling feet. Then I bowed and sat before the enormous golden Buddha and after awhile sunlight began to flood forth through the eastern window, illuminating the chamber. I’ve never known a better way to begin the day.

I stayed long at work out of excitement for the things I was learning and the projects to come, and then in the late afternoon I set off to Marpa point at a torrid pace. The rocky summit stands high above the scattered lodges, tents, shrines and stupas that compose the mandala of Shambhala Mountain Center. It is a fitting acknowledgement to the great Tibetan yogi known for bringing teachings from India to Tibet. It is a wonder, and a testament, that his influence resounds so many centuries later in the mountains of North America.

As I ascended, the shadows of pine cast long upon the mountainside and I saw an elegant doe grazing peacefully between them. Robins probed for worms, nuthatches contorted on the limbs of fir trees, and a steady breeze blew scattered clouds along the ceiling of the sky. The drone of an airplane echoed, reminding me temporarily of all the bustle and commotion I had left behind for the summer. It was an unanticipated liberation to put my cellphone, car keys and wallet away in the tent. What were once my constant companions, plugging me into the networks of modern society, were suddenly superfluous objects—paperweights and an unwieldy timekeeper.

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Approaching the summit of Marpa point, the pine and fir gave way to lichen covered granite and low, barbed shrubbery. Prayer flags of blue, yellow, red, green and white flapped and fluttered. In each crisp note of the whipping flags there was a whisper of my lived experience; of the precision of mind in reflecting its environment.

I softened my step and relaxed my squinting brow. Reaching the crest line behind the rocky peak I browsed the little rock piles that stood precariously here and there. I was breathing deeply and feeling satisfied by the burning in my legs. I veered south, measuring my ambition and time as I eyed the trail that wends several miles along the perimeter of the land.
But no sooner than I set out, an odd scene stopped me in my tracks. I wasn’t expecting the memorial to Allen Ginsberg—a granite slab with lion’s feet. Upon the neighboring rock was old Charlie sitting with his legs crossed and conjuring a fleeting melody from a little wooden flute. A sense of absurdity set in, my head askew as Charlie greeted me and embarked on an extended explanation of the origins of his Native American instrument somewhere in South Dakota. As he spoke my attention wandered here and there. I noticed the gilded spire of the Great Stupa in the west, the colorful flags upon Marpa point to the north, the rolling expanse of landscape to the east, and here in the southern quadrant, the inexplicable yet appropriate pairing of Allen and Charlie.

In the midst of this curious symbolism I gleaned some vague truth…some assurance; a sense of my belonging in this swirling array that both soothed and concerned me. This life I was making in the mountains and forest, in work and in play, was mine to interpret, mine to enjoy, and mine to sacralize.

 

From the SMC Kitchen: When Life Gives You Summer, Make Lemonade

by Avajra John Russell

JohnLemonWell, summer is here. Thunderstorms are rolling through the mountains and when they’re not, the immense sky is a crystal clear blue with the ever-changing play of puffy clouds.  And, (finally!) it’s hot this week here at Shambhala Mountain.

But let me take this opportunity to recommend making the most of your summer, wherever you are spending the season.  Although planning those big outings can make your summer memorable, I think it’s just as important to enjoy the small things—not grasping but taking full advantage of this spontaneous creative moment, ripe with possibilities. Try some summer fun swinging in the hammock with a tall one, make fresh lemonade, or spend some quality time hitting the ball around with the kids. Meet an old friend, or a new one, for a walk in the park.  Making the most of this summer is an art form unto itself and although it may take a bit of doing, the potential joys are rich and manyfold.

Here’s an easy and refreshing recipe for mint lemonade:

1 3/4 cups sugar, honey, or agave

1 1/2 cups of fresh squeezed lemon juice

8 cups of pure water

Several sprigs of fresh mint

In a small saucepan, combine sugar and 1 cup water. Bring to boil and stir to dissolve sugar. Allow to cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate until chilled.

Remove seeds from lemon juice, but leave pulp. In pitcher over ice, stir and shake together chilled syrup, lemon juice, and the remaining 7 cups of water.

Garnish with a sprig of fresh mint.

Sound and the Subtle

By Silvia Nakkach

Silvia Nakkach will be co-leading Healing Sound Retreat, along with Christine Stevens, August 29–September 1

Silvia Nakkach -BiaSound as vibration has the ability to permeate all things. Sound originates in space. We live in space, breath air, receive energy from the sun and the earth at every moment, and yet, the awareness of the essential relationship with these primal elements only happens during heightened states of consciousness, when we become sensitive to the gross and subtle dimensions of these essentials. Sound travels through us, activating our bodies and our imagination, and modulating our mood in the process. We connect and process sound as information. Everything we do, think, sense, and feel, carries a vibrational frequency that creates and can change our circumstance at every moment.

The most ancient cultures on the planet believed that material reality is the manifestation of primordial vibration. Even the Bible teaches that “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” – John 1:1

Early and contemporary spiritual traditions, the mystical experiences of sages and shamans, and scientists alike propose that vibration (spandam, the first sound) is the beginning of all creation. Both the material and the absolute realities are nothing but pulsations and at every level there is sound component of the universe. Through the finesse of their yogic practices and meditation, the sages as well as the scientists distilled the microscopic and molecular stratus of sound in detailed scales. The ancient Bön and Dzogchen teachings, which predate Buddhism in Tibet, also state that sound is in the basis of all manifestation. In a newsletter of the International Dzogchen Community, Costantino Albini writes:

“In the most ancient Tibetan mythological cycles, sound is considered to be the original source of all existence. Sound, which from the beginning of time has vibrated in ineffable emptiness, arises through mutations of light and then differentiates into rays of various colors from which the material elements that make up the entire universe originate.”

Albini is describing how sound gives birth to light, and how light shines out in rays that become the elements—quite literally the physical matter of the universe. In many ancient traditions, sound and vibration are present as a gateway to contemplation, divination, and spiritual development. In the Vedic tradition, derived from texts originating in ancient India, the “Word,” as it is conceived of in the Western Bible, is called the Nada Brahma.

The primordial and transcendent sound is considered the seed from which all of creation evolved. This is the Nada Brahma. Nada, or vibration, is the first audible sound, the primordial roaring, the resounding flow that heralds the beginning of the evolutionary process from which energy and matter radiate. Brahma, the creator God, is the creative power that animates one’s divine consciousness with the power to move the heart.

The original, eternal Nada vibrates at the highest rate of frequency. In physics, when an object vibrates at an inconceivable speed, it appears to the eye that it’s not moving. It’s fascinating that the highest point of vibration is stillness; in the dimension of sound, this is experienced as silence. Above a certain level of high frequency, sound becomes inaudible and can only be perceived subjectively. The ears cannot perceive sounds that are vibrating at such a high rate. Thus, Nada is both the beginning of all sounds and manifestations, and, in the realm of consciousness, Nada is the vibratory rate of silence.

Whatever way you look at it, even as meditation or contemplative practice, an experience of Nada—savored in the intimate union of sound and silence—becomes the super-highway to the therapeutic process. As practitioners of sound as yoga and transpersonal music psychotherapy, we consider Nada the beginning of the boundless healing power of sound. The journey to wholeness starts with awareness, clarity, and a moment of suspension.

It is interesting to see that creation and sound have, in most religions and civilizations, enjoyed a cosmic relationship. In the Indian philosophy, sound, dhvani or nada is the basic substance from which the universe of music and expressive utterance and indeed the entire universe has emerged, the Nada-Brahman. The nada is linked to the source of creation, to space and time, to the senses, to symbols, melodies and structures in music, and to sonic design in terms if resonance and acoustics.

The Hatha-yoga-pradipika 3.64 says that the mind absorbed in nada does not crave for sense objects. The unstruck sound, anahata nada, is heard in the anahata-chakra, the psycho-energetic centre located at the heart, the seat of transcendental consciousness. In this seat of the divine can be heard the immortal sound not produced by anything. It is the divinity inherent in music that connotes this sound of the soundless, and endows the yogis with super sensuous sound, from the audible to the inaudible, transcendental sound. They stir the depth of the ocean.

Related posts on the SMC Blog:

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The above text was excerpted from Silvia’s upcoming book Sound and the Subtle: Transforming Emotions through Mantra & Raga Yoga.

Silvia Nakkach, MA, MMT, is a musician that has cultivated a voice that transports the listeners into heart of devotion. An award-winning composer, former psychotherapist, and a leading authority in the field of sound and consciousness transformation, she is on the faculty of the California Institute of Integral Studies, where she has created the world premier Certificate in Sound, Voice and Music Healing established in an academic institution. She is also the founding director of the Vox Mundi and the Mystery School of the Voice, a project devoted to preserving sacred musical traditions, combining education, performance, and spiritual service, with centers throughout the USA, Brazil, Argentina, and India. As an internationally accredited specialist in cross-cultural music therapy training, Silvia has pioneered the integration of microtonal singing and the ragas of India with integrative medicine applications, contributing an extensive body of vocal techniques that have become landmarks in the field of sound and music therapies across the world. She has released 12 CD-albums, and her last book, FREE YOUR VOICE, is making history among musicians, vocalist, healers, yogis and spiritual seekers. Her thousands of students across the world refer to Silvia as the Minister of Transportation and Transformation. Meet her here: www.voxmundiproject.com

More:

Listen to her recent interview with Tami Simons from Sounds True: The Sacred Sound