Andrew Holecek Discusses Dream Yoga (VIDEO/AUDIO)


Shambhala Mountain Center hosts Awaken in Your Dreams: Lucid Dream Yoga, East and West with Stephen LaBerge and Andrew Holecek August 20–25, 2015 — click here to learn more

When was the last time you blacked out? Last night? Is this a regular thing for you? Do you aspire to change? Are you comfortable with missing out on 1/3 of your life? If you are disturbed by the idea of regularly blacking out — some may call it “sleep” — when you could instead be enjoying vivid perception, and even progressing spiritually, you may be interested in hearing about the practices of lucid dreaming and dream yoga.

Andrew Holecek has been exploring and teaching these practices for decades. Beholding his vibrant enthusiasm for the possibilities of what he calls “nocturnal meditations” is enough to shake one from the sleepy opinion that the dark hours in bed constitute “off time,” and that real life happens only when the eyelids are raised.

The teachings of dream yoga challenge our conventional views of both dreams and “waking life.” Our daily experience is not as solid as we may like to think it is, and our dream life does not have to be a fuzzy and random soup of memory. This shift in perspective, and experience, has great implications for how we live… and how we die.

Learning to wake up in our dreams, and to apply spiritual practices to overcome limiting habits of thought and behavior, is incredibly powerful training for living every minute of our lives in a more wakeful way, and for moving through the transition of death in a positive way.

Recently, I had the great honor of discussing the huge topic of dream yoga with Andrew Holecek. What came of the discussion is a wonderful glimpse, taste, introduction, to what may become a “game-changing” practice for some of you.

Watch our interview with Andrew Holecek 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.

Click here to learn more about Andrew Holecek and Stephen LaBerge’s upcoming retreat at SMC — Awaken in Your Dreams: Lucid Dream Yoga, East and West 

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Andrew HolecekAndrew Holecek offers seminars internationally on meditation, dream yoga, and death. He is the author of many books, including Preparing to Die: Practical Advice and Spiritual Wisdom from the Tibetan Buddhist Tradition, and the audio learning course, “Dream Yoga: The Tibetan Path of Awakening Through Lucid Dreaming.” His forthcoming book, “Dream Yoga: Illuminating Your Life Through Lucid Dreaming and the Tibetan Yogas of Sleep” will be released in 2015. His work has appeared in the Shambhala Sun, Parobla, Tricycle, Light of Consciousness, Utne Reader, and other periodicals.

 

PortraitTravis Newbill is a writer, musician, and aspirant on the path of meditation.  He currently resides at Shambhala Mountain Center, where he serves in the roles of Marketing Associate and Shambhala Guide — a preliminary teaching position.  Follow Travis on twitter: @travisnewbill

Flora of SMC Goes Word Wide Web

 

Living here at Shambhala Mountain Center, I see thousands of new faces each year — people who are coming to live here, or are else visiting for the day or staying for a retreat. Although it may be impossible to form substantial relationships with all of these people, a good place to start is to exchange names.

“Hello, I’m Travis.”

In my experience, learning someone’s name is an acknowledgement of shared connection that rapidly opens up the possibility of greater familiarization and friendship.

And so it is with the flora of the land, which is why we’re so thrilled with the recent online publishing of an ongoing research project that has been occurring here since 2014 in which Renee Galeano-Popp — a close neighbor of SMC — has been identifying and photographing the myriad plant specimens that live here on the land.

Click here to check out SMC’s page on the Intermountain Region Herbarium Network website.

 

I learned that this is a bluebell (Campanula rotundifolia) by looking it up in the online guide.

So far, Galeano-Popp has documented 305 species from 62 different plant families. For people who have spent some time here, some entries may be more familiar than others. In the online handbook you’ll find summertime floral favorites like the Rocky Mountain iris and spreadfruit goldenbanner, big friends like the douglas fir, as well as some more obscure (and oddly named) specimens like the starry false lily of the valley, the beautiful fleabane, and… scrambled eggs!

Of course, the binomial name is listed alongside the common name (when available) for each entry, as well as alternate names, photos, and a wealth of additional information.

We hope that SMC regulars as well as those who plan to visit the land someday will find this guide to be useful, and that it may allow you to make lots of friends while you’re here — whether you encounter other humans or not.

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PortraitTravis Newbill is a writer, musician, and aspirant on the path of meditation.  He currently resides at Shambhala Mountain Center, where he serves in the roles of Marketing Associate and Shambhala Guide — a preliminary teaching position.  Follow Travis on twitter: @travisnewbill

Forgiveness in an Unforgiving World (VIDEO)

 

We’ve recently become aware of a journalist named Megan Feldman who embarked on an brave journey across the globe seeking a deeper understanding of the act of forgiveness. The two year adventure took her as far as Rwanda, and, we’re delighted to say, to Shambhala Mountain Center as well. She encountered heart-breaking, heart-opening people and their precious stories. And, now Megan has stories to share as well. Stories that are applicable to all of us, as we ourselves perpetuate wars — on great and subtle levels — with ourselves, our families, and people of the world who we consider to be threats in one way or another.

Megan learned that forgiveness — the key to ending all wars — is not about the past, but about the future.  So in the spirit of moving into the future in a good way — today — we invite you to hear Megan’s wisdom.

Please open your ears and heart to Megan in the TEDx video below, and also check out a soon to be released book titled Triumph of the Heart: Forgiveness in an Unforgiving World, which chronicles her journey, and shares the wisdom that has arisen out of it. We’re especially excited to see the chapter dedicated to her experience at SMC!

Triumph of the Heart: Forgiveness in an Unforgiving World is scheduled to be released by Avery at Penguin on August 11, and you can learn more by clicking here.

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PortraitTravis Newbill is a writer, musician, and aspirant on the path of meditation.  He currently resides at Shambhala Mountain Center, where he serves in the roles of Marketing Associate and Shambhala Guide — a preliminary teaching position.  Follow Travis on twitter: @travisnewbill

Floral Notes and Bardo: New Morning

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.

Swam through, grew gills, sang songs into darkness
witnessed flowers of all sorts
all before breakfast, all wrapped up in dawn

Last night I cherished the sight
of her sleeping peacefully on her back,
purple pony under her arm,
hands folded.

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Out my window now — vast.  Sky is blue, finally — two weeks of heavy mist, rain, snow — like an incubator.  Me in the bardo — left home, time in Boulder running the conference, enjoying time at Marpa House.  Saw Lady Konchuk — got dizzy, nauseous, had to get up from sadhana practice to shit.  Put-put with the crew — Beyond Mindfulness.  Good.  10 hour days of work, hysterical team chemistry.  We reached 28,000 people from 135 countries.  Brought in a bunch of money for SMC.  Good.

Got home, got sick.  Crashed the new car into a tree.

Moved all belongings into palatial upstairs Manjushri — new nest.  Nubble Nest 3.0. Oh — good!  So good.  Fresh.  This morning, feeling my grasping at it.  Possessive.  It’s fleeting.

House and a car.

This is new phase of human-life-education.  Householder.  Living in society, in a house.  Relating to community from here, my seat.  Jeremy lives downstairs — good.  My new homie — dharma, poetry, life.

I had a heartful farewell with Avalokiteshvara — yurt.  Juniper smoke, song, prayer, thanks.

Here I am now.  How… SMC magic unfolding.  Learning how to live life.  I practiced at my home shrine this morning.  Now, writing from my desk, just beside the shrine, sitting on zafu still, desk is low, sipping tea from my new tea pot — beautiful, high quality, fragile — like all of this.

Next week, back into retreat — three weeks.  Now, settling into the new situation, the new phase.  Considering folks in Nepal, considering mother in Florida, the flooded folks in Texas.  These are the pebbles in my shoe.  Remember.  No God Realm vacation.

Vidyadhara said something like: “King without a broken heart is a paper tiger.”

— May 26, 2015

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PortraitTravis Newbill is a writer, musician, and aspirant on the path of meditation.  He currently resides at Shambhala Mountain Center, where he serves in the roles of Marketing Associate and Shambhala Guide — a preliminary teaching position.  Follow Travis on twitter: @travisnewbill

Floral Notes and Bardo: Into Earth, Into Possibility, Flower


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.

Image of mystery solidified into realness
Heavy “other” became oppressive
Revolution of skepticism, purification, cynicism
Softening, imagination liberated from captivity
Realness dissolves into possibility

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A healing week, a liberating week — with teacher Marcy Fink, and pepperred by amazing wisdom of wizard Joshua.  Oh, and high lama from Tibet.

Four Dignities, and teachings, exploration of magic, possibilities.  After a retreat a couple of months ago in which I became devastatingly frustrated with the teacher and lost connection, apparently, to the lineage, this — Marcy, Joshua, and the dignities — was restorative.

After the last retreat with the teacher who I found to be inadequate, having gone on solitary retreat, only for the teachings to blossom by surprise — as if someone had slipped acid into my coffee — now, okay, good.

Prancing in the field together, offering fragrant smoke into the sky, discussing with heart, bones, imagination, these teachings, our lives, this earth, the limitless expanse, poetry.  Feasting together, sipping sake, offering dance, poem, song, for each other, for us, delight.  Laying, one afternoon, outside the Stupa, feeling deeply into earth, gazing far into, beyond, sky.  Bliss.  Vultures circling above — death.

The follwing day — Joshua — oh — wild, amazing, heartbreaking, hysterical, ecstatic, living teaching.  In the flesh and spirit.  Laughing into the sky, basking in laughter echoed from Stupa, dancing, skipping, soaring together.  Realizing what all of these teachings are really about — even in glimpses.  Realizing my barriers — okay.  Inside Stupa, all of us with Tibetan instruments, weapons, a sculpture of ego — “mix between 8 1/2 month year old baby and a frog” — in the center. cacophony of sound — like bardo, chaos, world.  Dancers, in turn, embodying the dignities, ritualistically slayed ego-delusion.

A high lama from Tibet visited us on the last day.  I sat right in front, facing him.  In the middle of his talk — on nature of mind, Kalachakra, meditation, Trungpa Rinpoche — he pointed at me and said (through his translator): “This student is meditating well.  I can tell by looking into his eyes.”  Everyone laughed. After the talk I immediately jumped up when we were invited to ask questions.  I asked about vegetarianism — because he is an advocate — and he spoke to the full room about the virtues of vegetarianism:  Eating meat, he said, creates obstacles to awakening bodhichitta, and, among many other reasons for being vegetarian, it is good to not kill other beings unnecessarily, obviously.  It was nice to hear all of this and know that my fellow sangha members were hearing all of this.  The dubious practice of eating meat, to me, is an elephant in the room of Shambhala.

After I took my seat again, he looked at me for a moment and said: “Meditate well.”

Okay.

The retreat was intense, kept me up past my bedtime every night, and it was really staring to catch up with me by the end of the week.  Tired.

Friday morning I went up to do chores at the Stupa.  While I was up there, Joshua wrote me (I typed) a recommendation for an upcoming retreat program.

Do you recommend this student for this retreat?

“Yes. Extraordinary perception of reality.”

Anything else you would like to say about this student?

“Yes. Put him into servitude to save the world.”

That was it.  Good enough!

Satruday a blissfull day of slowness with Hetaher — pillowtalk all morning, yummy lunch, cartoons and games in the afternoon.  Finally listened to the new Sufjan Stevens album while she attended the first session of the second phase of our ongoing peaceful communication training with Greg Heffron.  I was sorry to miss it, but it just wasn’t lining up.

I’m enjoying, recently, moving the my life more in accordance with the flow of things, less grip on my agenda — watching it rain for a few minutes instead of hurrying to next destination, entering into conversation, volunteering time here and there.  Slow down.  Yes.

After Heather walked down the hill to class, I walked a couple of doors down, rang the bell, and asked Michael (Gayner) for some water.  I was all out and trying to nurse myself back to health.  Without hesitation, he began feeding me all good healthy things — fruits, herbs, tinctures, concoctions.  I felt better immediately, sipping roibos while the ginger, honey, pepper, lemon brew was heating up on the stove.  He hooked me up real nice and was so joyful in doing so.

So good.

Like President Reoch handing me a bunch of money to pass along to my Mom in need: real bodhisattva stuff.  Natural.  Genuine.  Feels good.

And now, entering two weeks of mad-creative-work putting on our second big online event: Beyond Mindfulness. the team is in motion.  It’s happening.  Giddy up!

—  May 4, 2015

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PortraitTravis Newbill is a writer, musician, and aspirant on the path of meditation.  He currently resides at Shambhala Mountain Center, where he serves in the roles of Marketing Associate and Shambhala Guide — a preliminary teaching position.  Follow Travis on twitter: @travisnewbill

Floral Notes and Bardo: Translucent Owls and Such

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.

Don’t read too loud.  Inner noise and voice.  Voice.  Voice as distinct from “thinking out loud.”  Voice as blossom of invisible beauty.  In these lines, in and out of resonant voice, in and out of ego-overlay chatter, in and out of state of genuine perception/expression.  Cracking jokes versus liberated approach articulated.

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I sense an inclination to write without noticing myself writing.  It’s sneaky.  It’s like coming upon a person in the woods dancing naked, totally free, and not wanting to interrupt.  Also not wanting to look away.  Trungpa talks about giving up privacy altogether.  Today I am not alone in the library as I write.  It’s rare to be alone here — in this snow globe, diorama, play-pen, dharma center.  Center?

There’s always someone around the corner.  Sometimes, avoiding small talk encounters feels like some ancient Atari game, Frogger, or something.  Trying to make it to my sacred writing space is a challenge.  So much noise, business, in the office.  Can’t write there.  So many people in between the meditation hall and the sanctuary library, so many potential disruptions to the silence after sitting that I wish to maintain and bring to the page.  So, I’ve worked to minimize the possibility of interruption.

I fill my Thermos with hot water before I leave the dining hall after eating breakfast, and I grab an empty mug, then I go into my office and grab my big, clunky laptop — and I bring all of this junk with me to the shrine room.  After the ending gong rings, I make sure to be the first one out of the room so that I can slip on my boots and slip out the door without anyone snagging me with commentary or questions of any sort.  I B-line it to the library.  Usually I’m alone in here and it is heaven.  I write for a half hour, then study dharma for an hour, then head into work.  It is ideal.

Later in the day I return to the library to study poetics for an hour, then I head back to the shrine room for evening chants, then back to the library to read a poem, and then off to dinner and into open space — hang out with Heather or other friends, get into recreational activities of various sorts.

Last night Ryan, Jeremy, and I were invited over to Michael’s house (usually I call him, in this blog, Director Gayner, but in real life I call him Michael) for some delicious cocktails and some hanging out.  We watched a movie called Deal Lands about the war and peace between two indigenous tribes in New Zealand.  I liked how their connection to the earth and the invisible spirit realm, spirit of things, spirit in general, was portrayed.  I like how it is an ordinary aspect of their lives — presence of ancestors, spirit, energies of the land.  I sense all of that sort of thing living here, but there’s a lot of push and pull inside me about how to relate with all of it.  Because we are a little snow globe in a culture that has mostly lost (maybe beginning to rediscover now) touch with the living earth, with the living energies of the world, of the human mind, heart.  Of big mind.  There’s more than meets the eye, but materialist worldview cannot see that.  Knowing with the heart.  Speaking with the heart.

I’m wondering recently what I’m doing in this writing.  And, I might have more to say about it later.  For now: I wish for the story of discovering resonance, harmony, to be told — the story takes place in the outer world of Shambhala Mountain Center and the inner world of my mind, feelings.  Here and there flashes of space — the source.  All of this may be summed up by the ancient notion of joining heaven, earth, and humanity.  This is something I’m actively exploring.  It’s what I’m doing in Ikebana, and it seems with the writing as well.

— April 23, 2015

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PortraitTravis Newbill is a writer, musician, and aspirant on the path of meditation.  He currently resides at Shambhala Mountain Center, where he serves in the roles of Marketing Associate and Shambhala Guide — a preliminary teaching position.  Follow Travis on twitter: @travisnewbill

Floral Notes and Bardo: Nada Surf Sang

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.

Slush this morning, knee deep, stepping, slipping, crunching down the trail from the cabin.  Singing dharma songs, admiring stark white snow on the rocky ridges, in morning sun.  Carrying way too much stuff.  Feeling good about being early.  Later, not much later, feeling rushed because some invisible vacuum devours minutes.

(Heather also made a sheep)

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Nada Surf sang: “Always rushing, always late.”

I think that’s a terrible way to live, but I find myself in that way rather often.  Trying to slow down and also accomplish much — marketing, meditation, poetics, community, joy, relationship.  A good, really good, full, sometimes too full, life.

This morning, after devouring my bowl of oatmeal, racing the clock, making a little bagel sandwhich for Heather — because she loves that and it rare that salmon spread and bagels are offered here; and just a few minutes ago — I am in the library now — I had a feeling that if I looked out the window I’d see her, and I did.  So I cracked the window and sang our special call.  She heard and came up to eat breakfast here while I write.  I told her about the bagel, but not the salmon — that’s a surprise.  Now, she’s eating, very pleased, as I type.  Jeremy is downstairs practicing Qigong in the shrine room.

Big, beautiful sacred Sudies shrine room.  I was going to write about that before I got sidetracked with the bagel scene.  He and I practiced together this morning.  Just he and I in that vast, sacred space.  Very lovely, and something I almost take for granted living here.  Someday, I’ll have a little shrine in a bedroom.  Today, I have this amazing room with elaborate wood carvings, and a dear friend to sing the beautiful chants with.

I was fumingly grumpy this morning while rushing around.  Ridiculous.  But that state of discontent is so seductive.  I’m glad to drop it and be a child.  Newborn.

And… it can be really difficult here.  My shower in the cold cavernous bathhouse this morning.  Trecking down the hill in the slush with fifteen pounds of stuff.  Later, I’ll treck back up.  Trying to do all of this on schedule.

There will be particular hassles no matter where I live.

Someone else cooked my oatmeal for me this morning.  Right now, those same people — my friends Yossi and Jesse — are chopping vegetables, cooking food that will be served for lunch in three hours.  I’ll stroll in and make myself a plate.  Beginning Friday, I’ll be in retreat — again — for a week.  Practicing and studying with some community members and a senior Shambhala teacher.  No problem getting time off from work to do it.  No tuition cost.  Easy.

It’s all true — the challenge and the ease.  I’m done saying obvious things now.  Instead I’ll sit in the armchair and study Pema/Shantideva for an hour before heading into the office.

— April 21, 2015

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PortraitTravis Newbill is a writer, musician, and aspirant on the path of meditation.  He currently resides at Shambhala Mountain Center, where he serves in the roles of Marketing Associate and Shambhala Guide — a preliminary teaching position.  Follow Travis on twitter: @travisnewbill

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

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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 a ton.  3 feet.  People were squishing their cars stuck into piles of snow — left and right.  Heather and I sat cozy in the cabin and watched a whole episode of Mark Corwin rescuing Oakes with the plow truck.

So cozy inside.  Snow falling, falling, falling out the window.  Piling up.  Huge heaps.  On Saturday, my first toboggan ride — right out in front of the cabin!  Then, warm drinks, burgers, music, games, yummy times inside the cabin with Heather.  Yesterday, she made an epic Totoro snow sculpture on the dining platform.  It took her three hours.  Now, her face is sun-burnt and her arms are sore.  She says: I’m experiencing physical discomfort.  I don’t like physical discomfort.”

This morning, she also said (her first words of the day):  “I dreamt that I was at the Nutcracker ballet.  Everyone that I’ve ever known was there.  It was beautiful.”

Friday was the heaviest super snow day.  We cancelled all of our weekend programs so the staff-community was hanging out in the dining hall — playing games, later watching a movie.  It was a good warm feeling.

Yesterday, after Stupa chores: Social Meditation. Such a great practice.  We sit in a circle, meditate, then, eye gaze, then, heart-speech-and-listening communication, then, snacks and more casual conversation.  Sharing gaze with friend, I felt all irritation melt away.  I had to refrain from bursting into laughter.

I always have resistance to entering into the gaze, but then, it is like immediate medicine.  That practice is as profound as any practice I’ve done — in the longer group or solitary retreats, or anything.  It brings it all to life — interdependence, non-duality, real love, real compassion, the basis for compassion, the lightness of the whole thing!

We’re planning to do it every Sunday now, like we did last summer.  Very glad for this.

Also, I am making my own kombucha.  Eric transmitted the mother to me.

— April 20, 2015

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PortraitTravis Newbill is a writer, musician, and aspirant on the path of meditation.  He currently resides at Shambhala Mountain Center, where he serves in the roles of Marketing Associate and Shambhala Guide — a preliminary teaching position.  Follow Travis on twitter: @travisnewbill

Floral Notes and Bardo: I Drowned a Tick in Booze


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.

Recently, Heather and I have been helping to water the seedlings for the community garden.  What seedlings am I watering right now — in the cosmic garden?

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Compassion feels sore and self-righteousness is a rush.  I want to strengthen my tendency and love for the former, and decrease my lustful craving for the latter.  Buddhism.

Yesterday I kicked off my new schedule and was able to practice — meditation, writing — and study — buddhadharma, poetics — and do good work in the marketing office, community service, have some lesiure time and get a good night of sleep.  The leisure time was only partly leisurely.

What I really don’t want to write about — and so chose to describe my routine — is the way that I’m feeling about a cultural attitude that I think ought to be examined.

I’ll not be specific here because it seems charged, sensitive, and some actual discussion with human beings in the community may need to come before published contemplation.  Skillful?  Timid?

Shantideva: Be like a log.

In other news, Sasha and I in the shower this morning, and a small mouse in the tub.

This morning — after bragging a bit yesterday about how I told the ticks to leave me alone and they obeyed — a tick jumped onto my leg.  I put it in a Kahlua bottle with a bit of booze in the bottom — left it to die.

I was discussing parasites with a friend recently.  In his view, karmically, ticks and mosquitos cannot get much lower, and so it seems fine to “send them on their way” — my friend said that Trungpa Rinpoche said this about mosquitoes.

I decided to kill his tick to send a message.  To let them know that I’m not messing around here.  After I put it in the bottle, I went outside and, while urinating in the grass, told them again, very sternly, with a few cuss words thrown in, that they must leave Heather and I alone!  I explained that I really don’t want to kill them.  And I attempted to explain that their behavior brings great misery to us.

I don’t think they understand that.  They’re too caught up in their blood-thirsty ways.  They are addicts.  Insane.

Reading Pema/Shantideva this morning.  The teachings describe how we fall under the spell of kleshas — anger, lust, and so on.  The ticks are extremely taken.  Myself and my homies may become tick-ish, but we snap out of it and return to humanness.  We’re fortunate to have that capacity.  Precious human birth.

Strengthening the non-virtuous habits though, leads to greater and greater tickishness — and maybe the Kahlua botlle.

And so in considering my feelings about certain policies and attitudes that are in effect here at SMC, I need to be careful — like I’m walking along the edge of a cliff, as Pema/Shantideva says.  I need to be deeply considerate.  In my actions, and even thoughts, am I chasing the buzz of self-righteousness, or is it compassionate action?

It happens a million times each minute — probably a lot more.  Choosing.

— April 15, 2015

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PortraitTravis Newbill is a writer, musician, and aspirant on the path of meditation.  He currently resides at Shambhala Mountain Center, where he serves in the roles of Marketing Associate and Shambhala Guide — a preliminary teaching position.  Follow Travis on twitter: @travisnewbill

Floral Notes and Bardo: I Showered Today


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.

This morning, my skull was a-buzz, body tagging along, narrator giddy and ignorant.  Empty chair across from me — an invitation to settle.  I don’t need a real god to sit there and watch me.  And, I don’t need a real me to write.

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Strolling down the hill after morning song with Heather, my nose in-and-out of a book — Shantideva/Pema — I got fifteen minutes of reading and studying in on the way down the hill.  Then contemplated a line while in the shower.  I showered today.

As the schedule has shifted, and my location, and everything, my routine –scattered — I haven’t been showering very much.  Apparently it is not as important to me as: breakfast, meditation, writing.  Anyway, my body is clean today, and I have a good feeling about the days ahead.  I planted my flag of routine last night and came up with a good schedule.

Lots of reading, writing, and work to do; lots of beautiful people to know; lots of nature to enjoy… Time to poop.

The springtime is coming on — plump little mice are running around, mating, wooing, ticks are chomping into our flesh, pasque flowers are coming up — the first wildflowers to arrive on the last each year.  My body has been knicked and a bit off balance.

Saturday night a bunch of us sat in the Stupa as Thomas Roberts offered a Tibetan Singing Bowl meditation.  It was very soothing — the Stupa resonant with those gorgeous tones, in and out of harmony, sound and space.

Sunday a field trip down to Fort Collins to get Heather’s tick bite — the nastiest tick bite of the season — checked out.

In the waiting room at urgent care, while “Dude Where’s My Car?” played on the television, while a grandmother became furious because the people at the front desk turned her and her sick granddaughter away in accordance with a new policy, while folks in the chairs beside me played loud videos on their iPhones with the volume up — I read a poem — which I enjoyed in the midst of the raucous, germy, environment.  “The Canyon Wren” — rushing down the river in a raft, being pulled along, spun, splashed, and then the call of a small bird pulls the writers mind into the larger environment.  Songs of all sorts do this for us all of the time.  As Pema Chödrön says — sometimes is takes a Mack truck running into us, and other times it can be the curtains moving gently in soft breeze.

— April 14, 2015

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