The No-Selfie: Miksang Contemplative Photography

 

Miksang Woman with Orange UmbrellaAll photos in this article by Julie DuBose

Discover how to see the world in a fresh way and express your full and complete experience through your camera. Miksang Contemplative Photography as developed by Michael Wood and Julie DuBose teaches us how to recognize the experience of direct visual perception — direct in this case means without the filters of our habitual ways of seeing and experiencing. In the interview below, Julie DuBose offers some wisdom related to this beautiful discipline.

Click here to learn about our upcoming weekend workshop: Opening the Good Eye: Miksang Photography, April 2-5, 2015 — This is Not Just A Photography Class

Watch our interview with Julie DuBose below, or scroll down to stream/download the audio, and to see more Miksang images.

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 about Julie DuBose’s upcoming retreat at SMC: Opening the Good Eye: Miksang Photography, April 2-5, 2015

Miksang Diner Seat

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Click here to learn about Julie DuBose’s upcoming retreat at SMC: Opening the Good Eye: Miksang Photography, April 2-5, 2015

Bottle-in-Water

Moms-Hair

Click here to learn about Julie DuBose’s upcoming retreat at SMC: Opening the Good Eye: Miksang Photography, April 2-5, 2015

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JulieDuBoseJulie DuBose began her study of Miksang with Michael Wood in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1998. She has been traveling and teaching with Michael since 2000 and is a teacher of all Miksang levels. She founded the Miksang Institute for Contemplative Photography in 2009 in Boulder, Colorado and Miksang Publications in 2012. Julie lives in Lafayette, Colorado.

Her first book,  Effortless Beauty: Photography as an Expression of Eye, Mind, and Heart, was released in March 2013. 

Relationship as Spiritual Path: Couples Retreat Master Ben Cohen

 

Intimate relationships are both an opportunity and a challenge to our capacity for love and vulnerability.  Once we get past the romantic love stage, we often find ourselves surprised by these challenges.  Drawing from the work of Harville Hendrix, PhD, (Imago) Ben Cohen works with couples in exploring the essential principles and practices of conscious relationships — both in his private practice and as a leader of couples’ retreats.

Click here to learn about our upcoming weekend retreat: Relationship as a Spiritual Path: Getting the Love You Want (A Couples Workshop), April 24-26

Watch our interview 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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Ben-CohenBen Cohen, PhD, is a psychologist in private practice in Boulder and Denver specializing in relationship counseling. He has also had an active meditation practice for over 25 years and integrates Eastern and Western traditions in his teaching and practice.

His departed mom told him to help me…

By Sue Frederick

Shambhala Mountain Center hosts Bridges to Heaven: A Grief Healing Workshop, led by Sue Frederick, June 5-7, 2015

Saturday night I went to do online check-in for my flight home after teaching a Bridges to Heaven: Talking to Loved Ones on the Other Side grief workshop and discovered that when United put me on a different flight to San Fran because of weather that it cancelled my entire ticket. I had no flight reservation home to Colorado.

I called United and spent 45 minutes on the phone with an extraordinarily sweet agent who fixed everything and got me back on the same flight with no extra fees.

He told me at the end of the call that he put extra energy into helping me because his departed mother whispered to him to help me out. He had no idea what I do for a living or that I’d just spent two days teaching a Talking to Loved Ones on the Other Side – grief workshop.

So we spent another ten minutes connecting with his mom and discussing his future great work. He was crying with happiness at the end of the call.

Amazing thing is that almost everyone in our workshop today was grieving their mom. (Each group usually has a distinct theme). We laughingly called our group the dead moms club. I kept telling my students that the room was filled with loving mother energy. You could feel it in the air.

I got to finish the day with this amazing conversation with another soul who was grieving his mom.

I’m so blessed to do what I do in the world.

And Divine Order blows me away. Always.

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SueFrederickSue Frederick is the author of Bridges to Heaven: True Stories of Loved Ones on the Other Side; I See Your Soul Mate and I See Your Dream Job. An intuitive since childhood, Sue has trained more than 200 intuitive coaches around the world. Her work has been featured in the New York Times, CNN.com and Yoga Journal, among others.

Floral Notes and Bardo: Met My Chest Like a Wedge


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.

Stark solidity, tender impermanence — an orange flower.  The perception met my chest like a wedge — heart so sore and radiant.

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Last night I dreamt of a hologram Ginsberg as a teacher in a classroom.  His words, display, energy, was so inspiring and brilliant — in ways that I often wish for in dharma teachers.

I said to someone near me that I’d do anything to get close to a teacher like that. I wish to attend  JKS when I leave SMC.  This is the second truly strong dream that has pointed in that direction so clearly.

Heather and I spent the weekend down in Boulder — with our friends Kitty, Matty, and baby Benny; and the Sheffield crew, who I used to travel to the Northeast to see, but now most of us live here in Colorado.

Yesterday they came up to SMC for the day and we took a nice walk around the land.  I showed them that cabin that Heather and I hope to move into in the spring, we sung in the Stupa, hugged the Grandfather Tree, and made it down to the shrine room in time for Mamo chants.  We’re officially into Dön Season now, so we’re doing extended protection rituals.

Last night I woke in the middle of the night with a sore back — hit by a dön — recalling sore dreams.

– February 10, 2015

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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

Is Today a Good Day to Die? How Meditation and Yoga Can Liberate You From Fear

 

I hope, as you read this, that you are well and free from any indications that your life will be cut short.  At the same time, I invite you to take a moment today to contemplate death.

Personally, I tend to skate by much of the time without reflecting too deeply on this inevitable aspect of life.  When I do contemplate impermanence though, the beauty and preciousness of my experience of living becomes illuminated.  So, it seems to me like something worth doing, perhaps more regularly.  Maybe you feel the same way.

In this video, Elysabeth Williamson offers some guidance for living in moment-to-moment, day-to-day relationship with our own death.  As she goes on to say later in the interview, the result can be incredibly liberating and joyful.

Watch the three minute clip below.

Click here to learn about our upcoming weekend retreat: Savasana: Exploring Our Death to Liberate Our Lives, March 13-15

If you feel inspired to deepen into this practice of contemplating impermanence and the preciousness of life, please click here to learn about the upcoming retreat that Elysabeth will be leading. 

Hear more of what Elysabeth has to say by checking out our full interview with her below. 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.

Please click here to learn about this retreat on our beautiful land in the Colorado Rockies — Savasana: Exploring Death to Liberate Our Lives 

Thank you for being connected with us — sharing this good life.

Wishing you longevity and much joy,
Travis Newbill

P.S. Here’s a photo I took of the full moon rising up from behind the eastern ridge of the SMC valley.  It’s sort of on theme with that “dead snag” in the foreground…

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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: Sand, Soda Ash, and Limestone


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’m drinking
water from a glass–which is not
sand, soda ash, and limestone

I’m questioning its clarity
in hopes that my own bones and blemishes
may be revealed to be clear

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Up late studying the dharma, dialoging with Heather, and celebrating Goundhog Day.

Therefore, woke up late in the morning — did my things swiftly — write, shit, shower, vows, Qigong, kiss and sing to Heather.  Then shoveled granola, grapefruit and tea into my face and raced down the stairs so as not to miss opening gong.

Sitting on the cushion, my stomach dealing with all of the stuff I bombed it with, I felt sad and confused — how to conduct a life that is smooth, not self-centered, productive… productive?

Joy: How?

That’s the question.

Peace: How?

Bliss: How?

– February 3, 2015

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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: Family and Family — Circle


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 take refuge in the sangha, as support for traveling the path.

This morning I met with the Care Council, to open and share a deep, murky, entangled, situation that I am doing my best to navigate well.

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It has to do with kin in dire straits.

We sat in a circle — I used to sit as a member of the Care Council and offer space and feedback to people who are in states of like I have been experiencing recently.

I opened up and spoke all about the situation, offering information and a bit of emotional tone.  It was a vulnerable feeling, especially before we began.  Sitting in the room waiting for the others to sit on their cushions.  I was contemplating the teachings on emptiness, and considering how solid things can feel.  But the solidity was only a flash, and dissolves into flavored space.

Arising.

So, my drama arose gently for us all to see.  And then, my friends offered feedback.  They offered their perspective.  Reported what they were seeing from their side of the circle.  And it was so helpful.

I went in with a bowl of spaghetti, and came out with some olives in a row.  Some understanding and some action items.

The main dharmic point seems to be exploring the distinction between compassion and idiot compassion.  That has been the dharmic theme recently, but I hadn’t put words to it.

Fearless beyond idiot compassion.

That’s one of the eight slogans of the Dorje Kasung.  Rusung Edwards offered it into the circle, and it reminded me of the dharma.

The Care Council assured me that they would be there to support me as I work through this.  I know, and I appreciate it.  We bowed, and Rachel said that the merit would be dedicated to helping myself and kin move swiftly through this challenging spot.

  — January 30, 2015

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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: Come with Me — Haiku and Katharine


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.

Deep tissue, heavy with ocean — blink and it’s mist.

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I had accumulated some savings, stability, now all gone to help kin.

Yesterday at my desk, and Scott knocked on the door.  I opened and he took me by the arm: “Come with me.”

I went with him, wearing the slippers that I wear inside the office.

Katharine Kaufman — Zen teacher, poet, spontaneous movement angel, coolest person — had ordered him to do so, saying “Don’t take ‘no’ for an answer.”

So I spent the morning with her studying and practicing haiku.

I wrote:

Wind is cold
I am sitting in the shade
I’m going indoors

and then…

The door is ajar
The floor is cool
People made these things

Someone else wrote:

Wind outside
Fart inside
Such suffering

I said “That was the best haiku I have ever heard.”

After our session, at lunch, the guy who wrote that poem engaged with Danny, our resident magician, in a little card-trick showdown.  It was awesome.

Before lunch, after haiku session, I spoke with Katharine for a while in the shrine room — about poetry, buddhism, and the possibility of attending Jack Kerouac School at Naropa when I leave SMC.

She was enthusiastically supportive of the idea.  She was under the impression that I am already an accomplished poet.

“I don’t know anything about poetry,” I said.

She told me that her “knowledge is spotty also.”

I told her that it’s always been like that with everything I do: I’ve made music for two decades now and I don’t know how to read music.  I’ve never memorized scales.  I don’t know what a circle of fifths is.

It’s that way with dharma too: I am not a scholar, but I practice a lot.

She said she’s the same: “I’m a practitioner.  I practice a lot, whatever I get into.  And Buddha said, teach from experience.”

She said she thinks there is a place for people like us, in the univeristies — as students and teachers.

Hearing that helped to resolve some hesitation that I’ve been feeling about the idea.

Okay.

I’ve written a lot and only read a very little.

“That’s good to acknowledge,” Katharine said.

So, I’m going to start engaging with JKS, poetics, texts, and see where it goes.

– January 29, 2015

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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: Poo Hat (Armchair Philosopher)


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.

Years ago I dreamt of being an armchair philosopher.

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Last night, in my armchair, studying a scholoarly Buddhist text while a group of people in the next room over acted rambunctiously — I was intent on chewing on subtle language, and they were swigging booze. I was quiet, and they were not.

I was grumpy old man, imagining myself poking the ceiling with a broomstick (in this case it would have been pounding on the wall):

“Keep it down!”

Just a joke.

I’m not a jerk.

But, I’d rather be studying the dharma.

Heather was on the love seat working on her Pillow Leaf project.

Afterwards we spoke. I told her about my mood:

We call it “Poo”

We came up with the idea that when either of us were in such a mood, we could put on a Poo Hat.

A way of owning such an emotion, expressing, without making a stink.

Humor as saviour.

– January 28, 2015

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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: Maybe My Farts Are Luminous Mind


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 funky smell in the room this morning after tossing and turning all night — dreaming of my tortured kin and the futility of “helping.”

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Pema talks about letting things fall apart, and other teachers do too, and so do I, and I know I may as well because it’s inevitable.  And, I see my resistance to death manifesting as attempts to try to keep it together, or fix, or ignore reality.

So, my plans are like suggestions.

Here I am with all of my faculties, for now.  Maybe my gums are disintegrating and my teeth will shatter before I can come up with the $20,000 for surgery.  Maybe my Mom will drop dead before she discovers a good way of living.

Maybe I’ll leave Shambhala Mountain Center without having developed the skills necessary to make a good living as a marketer and I’ll go back to being a scrappy artist.  Maybe I’ll go into debt $90,000 in order to attend Naropa.

Maybe I’m in a loop of cynicism.  Maybe my cynicism is empty of nature.  Maybe my farts are luminous mind.

– January 27, 2015

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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