Layth Matthews on the Four Noble Truths of Wealth (Video/Audio)

 

Shambhala Mountain Center hosts The Four Noble Truths of Wealth: The Path to Genuine Prosperity with Layth Matthews February 20-22

The way we think about wealth affects our personal experience and our world dramatically. Yet we rarely contemplate the heart of prosperity, which may be why it feels like we are running in place personally, and accelerating toward crisis globally.

In this recent interview with Shambhala Mountain Center, Layth Matthews discusses the connection between contemplative practice and a wealthy outlook. Through this fresh perspective we can make more accurate financial decisions, magnetize genuine prosperity into our lives, and extend compassion to others in many ways, including through the economy.

Watch our interview with Layth 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.

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LaythMatthewsLayth Matthews is the author of The Four Noble Truths of Wealth: a Buddhist view of economic life. He is a Shambhala Buddhist teacher, economist, and a financial professional. He lives in Victoria, British Columbia with his wife and three children.

Irini Rockwell Discusses the Five Wisdoms (Audio/Video)

 

Some situations bring out the best of who we are; in others we can’t get out of our own way.  In this interview, Irini Rockwell discusses the Five Wisdoms, an ancient Buddhist system of personalities which yields enormous insight into our patterns of behavior, emotions, and relationships.  She has been studying and teaching the Five Wisdoms for over three decades.

Watch our interview with Irini 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.

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Irini RockwellIrini Rockwell is the Director, Founder and Principal Trainer of the Five Wisdoms Institute and Wisdoms@Work. She is a professional development trainer for organizational leaders, health caregivers, educators, artists, and individuals and author of Natural Brilliance: A Buddhist System for Uncovering Your Strengths and Letting Them Shine and The Five Wisdom Energies: A Buddhist Way of Understanding Personalities, Emotions and Relationships. Irini has served as a faculty member at Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado for ten years where she earned her Master’s in Contemplative Psychotherapy and a Certificate in Authentic Leadership. She is also a senior teacher in the Shambhala Buddhist community.

Floral Notes and Bardo: Find the Others

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.

Just now, on my way out the door of the lodge to walk up the hill to work, I realized that Seth Godin and Terrence McKenna both say this:

FIND THE OTHERS

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(Later I learned that Timothy Leary may be the source of that phrase.)

Anyway, walking up the path, as I was saying to myself over and over FIND THE OTHERS, I see Avajra John coming up another adjoining path.  As we approached each other, we put our palms together at our foreheads.  Then he said:

“You know, my take on it is that the transcendent Shambhala is just behind a very thin veil.”

He grinned widely.  I thanked him.

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Just before all of this happened, while sitting in the shrine room, I decided that I ought to meditate more in order to tune into what’s going on here more fully.

All signs have pointed towards YEP.

– December 18, 2014

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PortraitTravis Newbill is a curious dude on the path of artistry, meditation, and social engagement who is very glad to be residing at Shambhala Mountain Center.  His roles within the organization include Marketing Associate and Shambhala Guide — a preliminary teaching position.  Follow Travis on twitter: @travisnewbill

Floral Notes and Bardo: “Oops,” and Apply Gentleness

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.

We’re a big, beautiful, beast!

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(Those cookies were made decorated by Kate Raddock at our community holiday cookie decorating cookie holiday event.)

Yesterday an intense Community Meeting discussing safety, substance use, and recent incidents of people having been asked to leave for various reasons.

I didn’t say a word, yet it was a very fulfilling experience.  I witnessed and felt people being very open, expressing genuine concern, and also people becoming defensive and accusatory.  But the whole thing felt civilized.

For me, safety is relative.  And, I feel very safe here.  I feel good living as part of a community that can gather and communicate in such a peaceful and open way.  People may have felt rubbed or hurt in one way or another, but no one called anybody dirty names. Nobody shut down and said “Fuck you.”  Nobody pushed or shoved.

It’s distressing to know that that stuff happens regularly elsewhere — to horrific extents.

We communicate so well here, I feel.

After the meeting, at dinner, I was discussing my experience of the meeting with Director Gayner and Kate.  I was reflecting on my first experience of a Community Meeting — back in spring 2012, when I first arrived.

Being in the shrine room, with the whole community, everyone sitting on cushions in meditation posture, in a circle… It felt like being in another realm.  It was so dramatically different from the sorts of communities I’d associated with previously.  It seemed enlightened.

Over the course of the last few years, being a part of this community, I’ve had different sorts of experiences.  I’ve been swept up in various styles of mental projection.  At times thinking negatively of the situation — thinking that people are phony, that the system is flawed.

Last night I experienced that sort of projection arising, but there was enough space around it to see it for what it was.  And, I didn’t stay caught in it.  Rather, I was able to open more fully and witness the good-heartedness of the whole thing.

The whole thing.

It’s precious to have a group of people together aspiring to bring about peace.  We all stumble, but we do so on the path of realization.  We’re one organism here.  People become aggressive towards one another in the same way that people become aggressive with themselves.  The remedy is the same: “Oops.” And apply gentleness.

– December 11, 2014

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PortraitTravis Newbill is a curious dude on the path of artistry, meditation, and social engagement who is very glad to be residing at Shambhala Mountain Center.  His roles within the organization include Marketing Associate and Shambhala Guide — a preliminary teaching position.  Follow Travis on twitter: @travisnewbill

Floral Notes and Bardo: Space Pervades

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.

Milky-white bliss–staring at a wall with my head in my hands.  And then, outside, wandering, mostly pausing, gazing, goal-less, bothered only when goals came to mind.

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Last night was the final session of our community Maitri Space Awareness exploration.  We concluded with the center of the mandala — the buddha family.  My favorite.

Space allows all else to flourish.  And, as Greg said last night in his talk, there is nothing we can say about space.

All colors arise in space, music, love, and all else.

Ironically, I am feeling like I spend lots of time busy-hustling in order to create space.  Get this done, get that done, so that I can have some space to do other things.

Last week we had community events three nights in a row.  This is great, but man… it makes for a long day.  I also need time in my room — reading, hanging out with the guitar.  I wonder when that will come.  I wonder if I am missing something.  Maybe there is a way of life that is appropriate right now that I am trying to bypass based on my thoughts of what constitutes a fulfilling life.

I want to make music!  But, I can’t sing in my room, and I don’t have any time before or after work, class, whatever.

Where is the space?  Greg said: “Space pervades everything.”

Life is full.  Life is full of space.  Maybe I’m ignoring space most of the time.  Maybe I have a biased mind, in which some things count as art and others don’t.

A bigger question: How self-centered is all of this?  What am I grasping for and why?  How does this relate to the aspiration for all people to be free?

There’s some truth, I think, to the necessity of taking care of oneself so that one can be strong for others.  It does seem good for me to organize my life so that I can be fluid, inspired, productive, helpful.

But, it is instantly liberating to consider others, and wish that they may be joyful and at ease. Instant space.  All cluttered concern falls flat on the ground.  Fresh air.

The teachings say that you don’t need to have stuff first in order to give.  Give now.

Turn my mind around — face outwards.  It gets so stuffy in here.

– December 10, 2014

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PortraitTravis Newbill is a curious dude on the path of artistry, meditation, and social engagement who is very glad to be residing at Shambhala Mountain Center.  His roles within the organization include Marketing Associate and Shambhala Guide — a preliminary teaching position.  Follow Travis on twitter: @travisnewbill

Floral Notes and Bardo: Stringing the Twinklers

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.

I made a small box for all of my things:
colored sand and precious rings.
Meanwhile I watch this thought burn:
the wish for anything to remain or return.

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This past weekend was full, and well-rounded.  Friday night a bath and relaxed space in the nest with Heather.  Saturday morning — cartoons, cereal, and sleeping in.  Then a nice, long practice session — at first, alone in the shrine room, which is just downstairs from our room, and then at noon the community joined for mid-day group sit.  The lights came on — I’d been in the dim — and friends surrounded and we sat.

Saturday afternoon a community sweat lodge ceremony.  It had been a while… I’m so grateful, purified.  Saturday night cat-sitting for Director Gayner.  Nice house, funny little cat, a couch and nice sound system.  We watched the latest Wes Anderson film and enjoyed a night on the most comfortable mattress I’ve ever known.  The next morning — nice practice session, breakfast with music on, a while on the couch together, in the sunlight, reading Mental Floss, some more time just laying in the sun, and then a walk down the hill for lunch.

Sunday afternoon — community Christmas Tree Gathering Escapade!  It was lots of fun, walking out into the woods, finding our little tree-friend, saying little prayers for it, and then, myself holding one end of the saw, cutting it down.

After dinenr we had a little decorating party with spiked egg nog and Christmas music.

Also, Heather got to work decorating our nest, and it’s very cheerful and good.

Last year, the holidays were the worst part of the year for me.  Very sad to be here.  This year feels different so far.  It was a warm and joyful day yesterday, with much of the community involved.  And, Heather is big into holiday celebration.  So, I am not feeling deprived at all.

I probably listened to three hours of Christmas music yesterday. Good stuff!

– December 8, 2014

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PortraitTravis Newbill is a curious dude on the path of artistry, meditation, and social engagement who is very glad to be residing at Shambhala Mountain Center.  His roles within the organization include Marketing Associate and Shambhala Guide — a preliminary teaching position.  Follow Travis on twitter: @travisnewbill

Floral Notes and Bardo: Agenda Like Flies

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.

Return to friendliness, and sing in spare minutes.  The wind is blowing like crazy, and this time is precious.

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Last week we had our Fall Staff Retreat.  Janillee came up from Boulder and directed, leading us in three days of Maitri Space Awareness practice.  In the afternoons, we played — music with the peeps.  Other folks hiked, did art, or wrote creatively.

I was in a grumpy mood for much of the retreat, kind of thrown becuse I had to relate to office work.  For me, having to go into the office during retreat is like having to step out of a ballet to work on my taxes for 10 minutes.  There is nothing to complain about in the situation, I knew that.  But, I just couldn’t make myself big enough to not be grumpy about it.

People are starving and I’m throwing a little fit in my mind because I have to work for an hour during a completely luxurious day.

So silly.  But that’s the truth of the experience.  If I were enlightened, it wouldn’t matter what I’m doing at any given moment.  It’s all music, dharma, dance.  I have moments like that, but I also get grumpy and seek pleasure.

These days, pleasure is quite plentiful in my life.  Heather and I have moved into a suite on the third floor of Rigden Lodge, which includes a nice big bed, cozy heater, a love seat, another cushy chair, and… and… a bath tub.  Oh yeah.

We also have internet in there so I can listen to music again via Spotify.

I’ve been giving some care to create recreation time for myself recently.  I feel like that’s been missing.  It used to be just me up on this mountain in the holy land of Shambhala Mountain Center devoted only to meditation and the dharma.  And now, life is filling out quite a bit, and I’m appreciating the beauty and importance of taking in art, music, literature.  And, simply enjoying.

Last night I spent an hour reading the dharma.  Contemplating simplicity.

“We have a mind and we have a body, therefore we can comprehend this world.  Existence is wonderful and precious.” — Trungpa

Drop the agenda.  Live.

– November 24, 2014

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PortraitTravis Newbill is a curious dude on the path of artistry, meditation, and social engagement who is very glad to be residing at Shambhala Mountain Center.  His roles within the organization include Marketing Associate and Shambhala Guide — a preliminary teaching position.  Follow Travis on twitter: @travisnewbill

Floral notes and Bardo: Cinder Block or Skies

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.

Exploring galaxies of psychological formations, residing and flirting with potent emotion, knowing each other more fully.  Learning the joy and liberation of knowing, wondering, knowing.  In the space of dialogue — the safe space which is dependent on mutual respect, care, and willingness — deep human poetry blossoms like music.  The only way to go further is through YES.  And YES is only YES when it’s genuine.  One way of exploring ourselves is through intimate partnership — YES is intimacy.

YES is peaceful, patient, and playful.

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Heather and I spent the weekend in a couple’s retreat in which we learned Imago theory and worked with communication exercises that allowed us to explore and learn lots about ourselves and each other.  The structured dialogues are designed to be tools for exploration and progression.  Meant to help us navigate the uncertain oceans of long-term committed relationship.  I’m glad to have the tools.  And I’m glad to be with a partner who is equally inspired to work with the tools, and more generally, to open, expand, go further.

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Having experienced, felt, the workability of differences, and what looking into obstacles can reveal, I feel confident about the potential for long-term intimate partnership to be a joyful experience, a genuine experience, liberating… Liberating!  The culture I was brought up in often frames marriage as some kind of prison.  I think that any situation can be confining if you choose to maintain walls — choosing the comfortable, familiar sight of cinder block — cinder block solitude, television, treadmill, thangka, hometown, saloon, drug-buddy, dog, blog, band, wife, or whatever.  I will never KNOW her, and she will never know me.  We will be new each moment for all eternity, and our curiosity and willingness to explore will determine our view: cinder block or skies.

It’s a blessing to be encountering these tools and ideas, taking these programs, while we’re young.  Seems like we’re set up well to go forward.  I feel that way about living here generally.  I’m learning all sorts of stuff that is going to be helpful for living the rest of my life.  The stuff that is not taught in K-12 or even college.  Real life stuff with great teachers.  People pay lots of money to come here for a few days and get a taste.  I am able to live here full time and immerse.  Moving here has probably been the best decision that I have made.

FURTHER

– November 9, 2014

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PortraitTravis Newbill is a curious dude on the path of artistry, meditation, and social engagement who is very glad to be residing at Shambhala Mountain Center.  His roles within the organization include Marketing Associate and Shambhala Guide — a preliminary teaching position.  Follow Travis on twitter: @travisnewbill

Floral Notes and Bardo: No Rush — Trickles from an Aspiring Teacher

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.

Late last night I had a look around, for a towel, I had spilled my water on the wooden nightstand.  I’m not used to drinking out of glasses.  I’m not used to wooden nightstands.  I’m not used to towels, carpeting, toilet in the next room. House/cat-sitting again for Director Gayner.  A joy — purring Dorje Phurba.  Soothing kitty.

Earlier in the night, I presented dharma to my fellows.  It was a learning experience.  I felt deflated afterwards, like my message was not clear, not precise.  I went through a few sommersaults of sorrow and frustration.  It was a potent process.  Charged practice experience.  It felt good, feels good.  Excited to refine my style and approach.  Glad for the opportunity to study with Greg Smith — a great mentor, friend.  A seasoned teacher.  I feel like I’m receiving a good, wholesome, training.  And, I’ll be here for another two years.

Last night, myself the the other student-teachers taught on the concentric circles of peaceful abiding meditation, as presented by Sakyong Mipham in Turning the Mind into an Ally.  I taught on the outer two circles.  Below is some free-writing that I did on the topic just before class.

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The outer-most ring, labeled “Our life” has to do with the space in between whatever we were doing before we came to the cushion, and the moment when we actully begin to practice.  It’s a moment to simply pause and feel ourselves sitting down in the room.  We can reflect for a moment on what is going on: Do I have a cold?  Am I really pissed off or worried about something?  Is my body in good working order?  And… what am I about to do?

The answer to that last question, in this case, will always be: I am about to practice shamatha.  Why?  In order to develop clarity, stability, and strength of mind.  I am going to practice remaining fully present, in the moment, rather than thinking about the past or the future.

This feels like such a good, wholesome and important part of the practice experience that I don’t hear very much about.  It’s not a strong habit of mine.  I tend to get to the shrine room, light the candles, sit down and get to it.  No time to waste, right?

Recently, my mantra has been “No rush.”  I think this part of the practice is about that.

It’s really lovely and fortunate that we’re able to sit in this warm, safe room and just be with ourselves.  There are no emergencies to tend to.  We have the supreme luxury of just sitting in a nice space in order to experience being alive for a period of time.  This is precious.  Something beautiful is happening.

I think taking a moment to touch in on this is a good set-up for then entering the formal practice of being with the breathing and allowing the mind to settle.

The next ring in towards the center has to do with what may occur in the midst of our shamatha practice.  We may get swept up in big, full blown thoughts that could be referred to as “Fantasy.”  Fantasies are the big narratives — there are characters, emotional tones, maybe scenery.  There could be a strong visual component or not.  It could be like a movie, or just commentary on a certain topic.  Often, the fantasy has a quality of hope or fear: Like, it would be so great to be at a rock concert, or It would be awful if the person is hurt by the email that I sent to them when I was angry.

I suppose the fantasy could be more neutral too, just imaginings.  Like, a bunny hopping down the road and a space ship pulling it up with a laser beam, and then the bunny and the aliens playing cards for a couple of hours, and they have a sleep over.

That could happen too.

I think the main thing is that we are totally swept up in it.

For me, it seems important to point out that the imagination is a beautiful and miraculous feature of the human being.  I don’t think that daydreams are evil.

The thing is, it’s not what shamatha is about.  In shamatha, we’re sitting down on the cushion to tune into the world we are inhabiting with our bodies at this particular time.  I think it’s important to be able to do that when we want to, because experiencing this world may actually blow any fantasy out of the water — in terms of beauty, humor, and brilliance.

Developing the ability to be present is liberating.  We’re not a slave to fantasy.  There is space around it.  We can walk into the movie theater when we choose to, and we also walk out and enjoy just being in the world.

There is always something cinematic happening.  That’s our life.  I think it would be a shame to miss out on the profundity of life in this world.  So, I think it’s good to practice being present — one way or another.  Shamatha is a good way. People have been doing it for thousands of years because it’s a good way.

– November 6, 2014

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PortraitTravis Newbill is a curious dude on the path of artistry, meditation, and social engagement who is very glad to be residing at Shambhala Mountain Center.  His roles within the organization include Marketing Associate and Shambhala Guide — a preliminary teaching position.  Follow Travis on twitter: @travisnewbill

Floral Notes and Bardo: Thanksgiving before Thanksgiving

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.

I am thankful for Shambhala Mountain Center because:

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It provides me with a home, and the means for exploring a good way to live in the world.  I’m grateful for the opportunity to live here, so closely with the natural world.  I know the deer and the way that the foliage, and all else, shifts with the seasons.  I’m grateful for the tremendous rock formations — they are characters, ever-present.  I’m grateful to live in this community.  The people are kind, beautiful, well-intentioned, tender, trying, transparent.  The people — we are doing this together.  We live 8,000 feet up in the mountains together.  We eat such good food here — three times a day.  My friends cook meals.  They put themselves into it.  They are delicious.

I am grateful to have arrived here, in this profound world of dharma.  This is a place of learning and exploration.  The energies here can erupt, turn me inside out, and hold me through death and birth, every day.  This is a special place.  It has been created by good people with hammers and nails, practices and prayers, photographs and flowers.  It is in a continuous state of creation.  We are creating it now.

We create Shambhala Mountain Center moment by moment, through our speech — our tone of voice, choice of words, and choice of no-words.  We create it through each action, in each space — the shrine room, the office, the dance party.  Every moment is consequential. We are never not-here.

I’m learning a lot about cause and effect, creation, surrender, forgiveness, and love.  I’m grateful.

– November 5, 2014

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PortraitTravis Newbill is a curious dude on the path of artistry, meditation, and social engagement who is very glad to be residing at Shambhala Mountain Center.  His roles within the organization include Marketing Associate and Shambhala Guide — a preliminary teaching position.  Follow Travis on twitter: @travisnewbill