Queer Dharma: A Conversation with Acharya Eve Rosenthal

 

Acharya Eve Rosenthal will be leading Shambhala Queer Dharma Retreat, along with Acharya Eric Spiegel, March 28-30

Acharya Eve Rosenthal

Acharya Eve Rosenthal

All beings possess natural goodness, kindness and intelligence, noble qualities inherent in each of us, regardless of style or sexuality. The Shambhala dharma is about gaining confidence in these inherent qualities by means of meditation and infusing this confidence into our everyday lives. While this is true for everyone, the LBGTQ community faces particular challenges within society; this can be both an inspiration and an obstacle for each of us.

Acharya Eve Rosenthal has been a meditator in the Shambhala Buddhist tradition since 1973. Founder of Shambhala Online, she has worked in technology on Wall Street and as a university professor. She travels widely to teach on meditation and Shambhala principles and is a long time practitioner and instructor of Tai Chi Chuan.

Watch our interview with Acharya Rosenthal below, or scroll down to stream/download the audio. And, check out our interview about Queer Dharma with Acharya Eric Spiegel: HERE.

Also, Eve will be hosting a live interactive online discussion along with Acharya Eric Spiegel on Sunday March 16 at 4pm EST / 6pm MST. Follow this link to participate, and to watch a previously recorded session: http://shambhalainternational.adobeconnect.com/queer/

If you’d like to download the audio file, CLICK HERE and find the “Download” button. Otherwise, you can stream the audio below.

 

 

Befriending Small Deaths-Big Deaths: A Conversation with Dominie Cappadonna

 

Dominie Cappadonna will be leading Befriending Small Deaths-Big Deaths along with Joshua Mulder, May 9-11

Dominie Cappadonna

Dominie Cappadonna

Approaching death with curiosity, courage, and spiritual skills allows for fearlessness in facing the unknown. The small deaths of broken-heartedness, sickness, aging, loss of work and more, offer us practice moments for the big death at the end of life. By relating in a profound way with our small deaths, we build resilience and positive qualities to strengthen our encounter with dying moments as they arise.

If you’d like to download the audio file, CLICK HERE and find the “Download” button. Otherwise, you can stream the audio below.

Queer Dharma: A Conversation with Acharya Eric Spiegel

 

Acharya Eric Spiegel will be leading Shambhala Queer Dharma Retreat, along with Acharya Eve Rosenthal, March 28-30

Acharya Eric Spiegel

Acharya Eric Spiegel

All beings possess natural goodness, kindness and intelligence, noble qualities inherent in each of us, regardless of style or sexuality. The Shambhala dharma is about gaining confidence in these inherent qualities by means of meditation and infusing this confidence into our everyday lives. While this is true for everyone, the LBGTQ community faces particular challenges within society; this can be both an inspiration and an obstacle for each of us.

Acharya Eric Spiegel has been teaching the Shambhala Dharma since the mid 1970s. Beginning with the AIDS epidemic of the 1980s and 90s, Eric has worked extensively with illness and death, helping people realize their natural wisdom in the face of impermanence. He has also had a decades-long career in finance.

Watch our interview with Acharya Spiegel below, or scroll down to stream/download the audio. Also, check out our interview about Queer Dharma with Acharya Eve Rosenthal: HERE.

Also, Eric will be hosting a live interactive online discussion along with Acharya Eve Rosenthal on Sunday March 16 at 4pm EST / 6pm MST. Follow this link to participate, and to watch a previously recorded session: http://shambhalainternational.adobeconnect.com/queer/

If you’d like to download the audio file, CLICK HERE and find the “Download” button. Otherwise, you can stream the audio below.

Acharya Eric Spiegel will be leading Shambhala Queer Dharma Retreat, along with Acharya Eve Rosenthal, March 28-30

SMC and ‘Art Machine’: A Conversation with Writer/Director Doug Karr

By Travis Newbill

Second generation member of the Shambhala community Doug Karr has brought a marvelous film into the world recently, and we at Shambhala Mountain Center are excited to share the news that our own Executive Director Michael Gayner has helped the film along, serving as Executive Producer (he’s an executive kind of guy). And, in related delightful news, Doug has generously offered up one of his producer points from the film so that a portion of the film’s profits will go towards the Shambhala Mountain Center.

The film, titled Art Machine, tells the story of a child prodigy painter who must make the difficult transition into adulthood–as an artist and human being. Throughout the film, notions of sanity, inspiration, madness, dharma, fame, and love are explored in a fun and edgy way.

Recently, Doug took some time to speak with us about the film. You can watch our interview below, or scroll down to stream/download the audio.

And, you can view and support this film in iTunes by following this link: https://itunes.apple.com/us/movie/art-machine/id794840957?ign-mpt=uo%3D4

If you’d like to download the audio file, CLICK HERE and find the “Download” button. Otherwise, you can stream the audio below.

Relationship as a Path of Awakening: A Conversation with Bruce Tift, MA, LMFT

 

Bruce Tift will be leading Relationship as a Path of Awakening, May 16-18, 2014. He’ll also be giving a talk on the subject in Boulder on April 25.

BruceTiftHow can we use the inherent disturbance and richness of our intimate relationships as an opportunity for wakefulness? Psychotherapy helps us understand the deep historic conditioning we bring to our relationships. Buddhist practice cultivates the confidence that, in each fresh moment, we are free in how we relate to this conditioning. Let’s explore how we can learn to keep our hearts open within the profound provocation of intimacy.

Bruce Tift, MA, LMFT, has been in private practice since 1979, taught at Naropa University for 25 years, and given presentations in the U.S., Mexico and Japan. His new CD, Already Free: Buddhism Meets Psychotherapy on the Path of Liberation, explores the human issues of neurosis, anxiety, body awareness and relationship dynamics.

If you’d like to download the audio file, CLICK HERE and find the “Download” button. Otherwise, you can stream the audio below.

Ikebana: The Contemplative Art of Flowers

By Alexandra Shenpen, Sensei and Travis Newbill

Shenpen, Sensei will be guiding Ikebana/Kado: The Contemplative Art and Way of Flowers, April 18-20, 2014

Alexandra Shenpen

Alexandra Shenpen

Ikebana is more than just flower arranging. Rather, it is a practice through which we explore nature & life,  the relationship between heaven, earth, humanity and personal artistic process — whether we feel we are artistic or not!  We begin by learning traditional, harmonic forms. Engaging with Ikebana as a contemplative practice awakens the unconditional beauty of  our world,  inspiring a way of living.

Below are some words from our wonderful teacher, Alexandra Shenpen, Sensei and some images of arrangements created by introductory students.

On structure and improvisation:
“Forms tame us, helping us to wear-out our artistic ego, so that what comes through is fresh and awake, an expression of  what’s already there — both in ourselves and in nature.  This is a wonderful ground for later improvisation.   In other words, structure provides a language of flowers — and from that language, not only can the poetry of botanical materials communicate more vividly, but one can begin to play.  Ultimately, the plants speak for themselves, if we understand their presence in space.”

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“Ikebana, as a non-verbal art form, allows us to let go of  thoughts and judgments that can cloud the way we see the world.  By  really looking at a branch, a twig, a flower, we can discover how to look , that we  might truly see, and fully appreciate what’s there.  The flowers and branches find their own place harmoniously.  When we begin to taste that  experience, isness–things as they are–renews our real heart.  Ultimately, when we are experiencing the vivid inseparability of form and emptiness, we feel very alive,  in touch with ourselves and phenomena.  It quite goes beyond words.  Art  embodying that is very helpful to have in the world.”

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Flower as guest:
“Human beings have a universal soft spot for plant life, for the beauty of nature. Just holding or looking at a flower touches that soft spot. Once flower or branch has been cut, it is no longer being sustained by its own way of growing. It is in our care. Being considerate of the flower’s needs comes naturally when our soft spot is open.”

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“Every Choice is an Artistic Choice” — Ernie Porps/Chogyam Trungpa, Rinpoche
“Ikebana can be a positively dangerous contemplative art ——     it can change your life! It becomes harder to not notice. Our natural instinct is to be awake and care for our world  –  noticing,  appreciating, and engaging aesthetically. How we get dressed, or how the dishes go in the dish rack — becomes more of an ongoing creative  process, rather than just something to put up with.”

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“Ikebana/Kado honours the sense of above, below, and in between- – -  below is not lesser than above and above is not greater than below, and in between is not “not as good as” or “better than” something else. Those are human neuroses which are rampant in the world and in ourselves. Some liberation from that takes place when we create a living piece.   We come to recognize that each element has its own place, creating a harmonious whole.    This really interrupts our conventional way of thinking about things.”

~~~

Finally, a testimonial from David, a student of Shenpen, Sensei:

“Whether to choose this blossom, or that branch has been an absolutely safe place to be daring. The most dreadful consequence has been total collapse (of my flower arrangement) – something I have found I can live with! After a year I am beginning to bring this development of felt-sense into my larger world. I find it easier to move with confidence and trust myself. Who would have ever thought that arranging flowers could have such potential for informing my life? The fresh perky blooms are rubbing off!”

Alexandra Shenpen, Sensei will be leading Ikebana/Kado: The Contemplative Art & Way of Flowers, April 18-20, 2014. To learn more, CLICK HERE

Freak Out! Or Not: An Interview with MBSR Teacher Janet Solyntjes

 

Janet Solyntjes

Janet Solyntjes

Janet Solyntjes will be leading Introduction to Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, February 14-16

What does it feel like to FREAK OUT?! Becoming familiar with the early signs is the first step toward avoiding catastrophic fits of stress. Sound good? Learn more by checking out our recent interview with MBSR teacher Janet Solyntjes.

Watch the video 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.

Engaging the Rhythms of Our Living Earth Part 2

By Martin Ogle

Martin-Ogle-La-Plata-PeakMartin 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 modern humans, they must have been terrified! The awareness that they were going to die and the plaguing wonderment of why they were alive were surely the origin of what we now call “religion.” Our present-day religions, mythologies and stories surely echo and mirror our ancestors’ original explanations of these matters!

Since that ancestral time, the sudden breadth of our awareness has produced a tendency to mentally speed up and “get ahead of ourselves” unlike anywhere else in nature. Although our minds are natural emanations of Earth, the level and kind of our awareness of self and time are fundamentally unique. The discrepancy between the pace of nature and the pace and of the human mind is the source of much of our unhappiness and discontent. And, whereas non-human nature is purposeless, the human mind is often the hostage of purpose and meaning.

This is not to say that purpose and meaning are bad things (nor, could they be, for they are just part of our human nature). As a biological adaptation, a sense of purpose is a marvelous thing – it allows us to foresee and prepare for circumstances in the future that would otherwise harm us or even do us in. Thus, the question is not whether our awareness is inherently good or bad, but whether it goes too far. Knowing the human mind as emerging from a living, evolving planet allows us to consciously re-link with its rhythms allowing a harmony between our intellect and senses.

In his book From Eros to Gaia (1988) Princeton physicist, Freeman Dyson, intoned that “One hopeful sign of sanity in modern society is the popularity of the idea of Gaia, invented by James Lovelock to personify our living planet.” He believed that “As humanity moves into the future and takes control of its evolution, our first priority must be to preserve our emotional bond to Gaia.” In a 1994 speech The New Measure of Man, Former Czech President, Vaclav Havel cited the Gaia Hypothesis as one of the biggest reasons for this hope because it both confirmed and was anticipated by the myths, stories and religions of peoples around the world that saw human life as “anchored in the Earth and the universe.”

These words, and those of many other recognized figures from around the world, help create a reasoned premise that linking our intellect and our senses in a single “Gaian context”planet is a healthy and enjoyable way to be present in this world. I look forward to joining with you and others in March to explore this new territory through story, science, contemplation, art, and walks through the beauty of Shambhala Mountain Center.

~~~

Be sure to listen our recent interview with Martin Ogle, available to stream and download HERE

Martin Ogle will be leading Gaia: Engaging the Rhythms of Our Living Earth, March 21-23. To learn more, CLICK HERE

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.

Avajra John Presents: The Perfect Rice

By Travis Newbill

In order to clarify the confusion of all sentient beings attempting to make rice, we present another installment of Avajra John‘s pithy kitchen wisdom.

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There are quite a few different approaches to making rice. Each of the different approaches works well. This can be confusing. There are some 40,000 varieties of rice from around the world. Short-grain and long-grain brown rice, basmati rice, jasmine rice, Arborio, and Koshihikari from Japan are some commonly available varieties. In each of these different rice cultures around the world, there are recipes for making perfect rice that is considered a high art within that culture. So let’s simplify this and start at square one:

  • Cook the rice on the stove top or in the oven.
  • Use a pot or pan with a good, tight-fitting cover.
  • Use the proportion of one cup of rice to one and a half cups of water.
  • Use cold water.
  • Put the rice and the water together in the pot or pan and cover tightly.
  • Bring the rice and water to a boil.
  • Then turn down the heat to medium low.
  • The white rice varieties will take 25 to 35 minutes to cook. The brown rice varieties will take longer usually 45 or 50 minutes.
  • Try to keep the cover on the rice for the whole cooking duration (check it if you must, but keep this to a minimum).
  • After cooking, let the rice rest with the cover on.
  • Fluff the rice with a fork and serve.