Wise Living Heals You

by Charley Cropley, N.D.

Charley Cropley, ND, is a Naturopathic physician who after 35 years of practice, uses no medicines. He teaches his clients that they are endowed with self-healing capacities exactly equal to their condition. He will be leading a Self Healing Retreat at Shambhala Mountain Center this October 4–6, 2013. 

alfalfaslide

Over my career, I have gradually abandoned all types of therapy such as herbal medicine, homeopathy, acupuncture, etc. Today my entire healing work is teaching my clients how to heal their health problems by performing their ordinary, daily activities with kindness and intelligence.

By “ordinary activities,” I mean the four activities that all human beings can and must perform for themselves alone: eating, moving, thinking and relating. These four life-sustaining actions are the most powerful, reliable and rapid of any forms of healing. We find extraordinary healing hidden in our most ordinary actions; miraculous benefit unrecognized in the mundane activities of our lives. The health that results from the skillful performance of the ordinary activities of living is truly extraordinary and miraculous. You can prove this for yourself in your own body.

To illustrate, imagine that you could purchase the following as medicines: First, picture a medicine that gave you the power to eat impeccably, exactly in accord with the wisdom of your mind and body. The results of this medicine would be a beautiful, youthful body free from every illness. Next, imagine a medicine that gave you the motivation and skill to perform a daily 90-minute balanced workout resulting in strength, flexibility and endurance? Finally, would you like a medicine that enabled you to direct your internal dialogue as an unbroken stream of positive, life affirming, self esteeming thoughts; one that freed you from collapsing into negative emotions and governed your mental/emotional body with unshakeable faith, hope and love? The medicine of loving kindness and compassion would heal your relationships of arguments, misunderstandings, conflicts and violence.

In the real world there has never been and never will be such medications. Why? The medicine already exists.

There is NO option to not perform these actions. We are already and always engaged in them. Our only choice is whether our actions will be expressions of our wisdom and love or expressions of our ignorance and indifference. The stakes could not be higher–our health, beauty, vitality, youth, happiness, marriage, career–all these depend entirely on our ability to govern our most basic actions.

Our bodies, minds and relationships faithfully reflect back to us the caring and thoughtfulness behind our actions. Our every act obeys the one universal law: “As you give so shall you receive.” If you want quality from your body, mind, or spouse–give it. There is no other way.

Through right action we cease to harm ourselves and others and therefore our mind becomes less anxious about the inescapable consequences that wrong actions incur. We are then able to relax and concentrate our attention in prayer and meditation enabling us to further discover and express in our mundane activities the divinity that we are. This is my medicine.

Join Charley Cropley, ND for the Self Healing Retreat at Shambhala Mountain Center this October 4–6. In this retreat you will learn to wisely use your power to eat, move, think and relate. For two days you will practice deliberately imbuing these most ordinary daily activities with intelligence and caring. Click here for more information.

Wholeness and Mindfulness

By Janet Solyntjes

JanetSolyntjesNearly everywhere one turns these days the language of “mindfulness” is to be found. Its ubiquitous influence is flavoring American culture. Because my professional life is part of the mindfulness movement, I have sensitivity towards noticing the numerous references to mindfulness that are popping up in the media. What I personally find inspiring is not the “Zen” or “mindful” references dotting our media world. What is heartening is the clear shift that happens in an individual and culture each time a person opens to unconditional goodness, wholeness, and worthiness. Can you feel something shifting? Are you curious about the transformative power of the increased number of people practicing mindfulness in America?

Jon Kabat-Zinn, the progenitor of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, speaks of the healing power of the view and practice of entering wholeness:

When we glimpse our own completeness in the stillness of any moment, when we directly experience ourself as whole in that moment and also a part of a larger whole, a new and profound coming to terms with our problems and suffering begins to take place. We begin to see both ourselves and our problems differently, namely from a perspective of wholeness.

In this time of the spreading of mindfulness, where people in all areas and walks of life, crossing economic and cultural boundaries, are gravitating towards the beauty, power, and genuineness of living life one moment at a time, the need to cultivate a view of wholeness and completeness is paramount to individual and societal transformation. This leads me to my main point: Cultivating an unshakeable view of wholeness, worthiness, and goodness in our own heart requires periods of deep reflection and meditation to uproot wrong views and nourish faith in innate wholeness. It doesn’t happen automatically in our busy lives. It requires intention.

DSCN0186A penetrating question that poet Antonio Machado asks his readers in The Wind, One Brilliant Day has been haunting me for years: “What have you done with the garden that was entrusted to you?” When these words and associated images arise in my mind, I feel a deep longing for retreat practice. Utilizing the gardening metaphor, Maria Rodale offers comparisons between gardens and a human life:

You have to have a vision and Big Dreams.
You have to have patience.
You have to learn how to deal with things that are totally out of your control.
It’s hard to do it alone.
It’s good to be thankful.
Sometimes you have to let things go.
It’s all about love.

This November, Jim Colosi and I will be co-leading a 7-day Mindfulness Meditation Retreat at SMC. Our inspiration is to help teachers and aspiring teachers of MBSR and other mindfulness programs to refine the tools of “gardening” and to support the view of wholeness. Tending to one’s interior garden is the essential work of a group meditation retreat.

Support for the retreat from Saki Santorelli:

“The Mindfulness Meditation Retreat is designed to mirror and express the essential and universal approach of MBSR by fostering a rigorous retreat experience that is independent of any religious viewpoint. And because the themes, practice instructions, and outlook of the retreat are all rooted in the MBSR experience, there will be a natural continuity with our Oasis Institute MBSR teacher training curriculum and criteria. For this reason, and because of the longtime MBSR teaching experience of Jim and Janet, we at the Center for Mindfulness are happy to co-sponsor and endorse this retreat.”

We hope you join us!

Janet Solyntjes

 

A Rare Pairing, Awareness Through Moving & Stillness

by Katharine Kaufman and Kim Hansen

Katharine Kaufman  and Kim Hansen will be teaching: Awareness Through Moving and Stillness: Feldenkrais and Meditation September 6–8, 2013 at Shambhala Mountain Center.

miss kaufman adjustsParticipating in an Awareness Through Movement lesson is like wearing clothes that fit well. Imagine you have an exceptional suit, and it doesn’t fit.  It’s a little too big around the shoulders; so you go to the tailor to take that in. It is a bit too long in the legs, too snug in the waist…By the time the tailor is finished with your suit, it is no longer baggy in some places and tight in others. It fits freely so you can move unencumbered, and naturally.  You could wear the special suit with ease all day and through the night.

In this retreat rather than one size fits all, participants are guided continually to create choices based on their internal experiences such as comfort, intuition, sensation, feelings, vitality, and thoughts.  Movements can be soft, subtle, influenced by the breath– or large, moving through space. The mind/body connection is investigated as well so we begin to trust the situation, and can begin to move and find stillness in integrated, holistic, and organic ways.

Awareness Through Movement practice is offered in thematic lessons, through verbal cues, like little movement puzzles. The practice helps sort out habits and internalized patterns from the inside out. The most simple movements become fascinating.

Then we take a break and have some tea, or stroll about, or talk with each other, and allow the lesson to integrate.

We can let things be as they are, without adding additional stories or judgments to confuse direct somatic experiences. One may find more possibilities, fewer subconscious chains dragging down behavior and creativity. One may actually feel new connections coming alive. During this retreat in the early days of September there will be plenty of opportunity to wander, roam and pause through the magnificent land at Shambhala Mountain Center, with our new found freedom of awareness, movement and stillness.

When this type of exploration is combined with the art of sitting, standing, lying and walking meditation, the meditator becomes uniquely and deeply aware of the whole experience as an integrated one. When we look and feel our breath and allow small micro-movements then the stillness of meditation is not so still after all. When the emphasis strays from holding a posture and instead transforms to experiencing a posture then meditation becomes quite alive, and fresh. We have the possibility of recognizing our choices even during seemingly still meditation postures. One is able to rest with awareness in the process of meditation.

Combining Awareness Through Movement lessons with meditation practices we can discover ourselves as new as a brilliantly fitting suit, in the way we turn toward our unavowed dreams, human dignity, and relationships.

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Katharine Kaufman and Kim Hansen will be teaching: Awareness Through Moving and Stillness: Feldenkrais and Meditation September 6–8, 2013 at Shambhala Mountain Center.

Traveling Light

by Andrew Holecek

empty shoesOne of the biggest problems in death, as in life, is looking back, or being held back by unhealthy attachments. By cutting our attachments and lightening our load now (by writing wills and other advance directives), we can free ourselves to move forward.

Dealing with all the emotional, medical, legal, and endless practical details that surround death is overwhelming at the time of death, so it behooves us to prepare in advance. The single best thing you can do to have a good death is to relax, and the best way to relax is to have all your affairs in order. These practical preparations have spiritual implications. When we die, we want to travel light into the after-life, what the Tibetans call “bardo” or “gap, transitional process.”  Traveling light allows our consciousness to move forward to our next destination.

This is actually a form of “phowa,” which means “transference, or ejection,” and refers to the movement of consciousness after death.  There are esoteric and exoteric forms of phowa, and getting all our affairs in order now is a form of exoteric phowa. It’s a spiritual practice.

Advance directives help everyone. They help your caretakers follow your wishes; they help your loved ones by removing all the hassles of sorting out your wishes and implementing them; and they help you by lightening the load on your mind and allowing you to move forward.

What are you waiting for? Since death comes without warning, this means you want to prepare now.

Andrew Holecek

Andrew Holecek will offer a class on preparing to die (advance directives, signs of impending death, hospice, grief, funeral issues, and medical and legal challenges) in Boulder, Colorado on the 1st and 2nd of November. He regularly offers seminars internationally on meditation, dream yoga, and death.  He is the author of The Power and the Pain: Transforming Spiritual Hardship into Joy, Preparing to Die: Practical Advice and Spiritual Wisdom from the Tibetan Buddhist Perspective, and the audio learning course, “Dream Yoga: The Tibetan Path of Awakening Through Lucid Dreaming”.  His work has appeared in the Shambhala Sun, Buddhadharma, Light of Consciousness, Utne Reader, and other periodicals.

Photography and Unconditional Expression

 

With Opening the Good Eye: An Introduction to Miksang coming up October 10-14, we’d like to offer here a little glimpse into the way of seeing that will be the focus of this upcoming program.

Miksang Michael in Puddle
“In order to notice our world and see it clearly, we have to simplify our minds. We make a choice to be fully engaged with one thing at a time. This allows us to be fully present in each moment.”
 -Julie DuBose

Miksang contemplative photography was developed as a method for seeing the world in fresh ways. Instead of emphasizing the technical aspects of the art form, it turns photography into a practice for waking up by bringing together mind and eye to see the world directly.  Julie DuBose is the founder of the Miksang Institute for Contemplative Photography and Miksang Publications and has studied and then taught with founder Michael Wood since 1998, who works with her at the Miksang Institute, developing and teaching the Miksang curriculum. She will be teaching Opening the Good Eye: An Introduction to Miksang  at Shambhala Mountain Center October 10–14. This unique retreat will offer valuable tools for recognizing direct visual perception through visual exercises, assignments, discussion and sharing of images.

Miksang Diner Seat
“We have an innate ability to connect unconditionally with our world. This means that we can be wide open and receptive, free of ideas and preferences. We can work directly with our world with our wisdom guiding us.” -Julie DuBose

Miksang Woman with Orange Umbrella
“If we begin with an open, receptive, curious, attentive mind, free of judgment and the desire to interpret, the impulse to express will flow through us, vibrating with possibility. From this openness, unconditional expression is born.” -Julie DuBose

 

Click here to read the Shambhala Times interview excerpt with Julie DuBose and Dan Hessey about Julie’s new book, Effortless Beauty: Photography as an Expression of Eye, Mind, and Heart.

The Last Word at the Great Stupa

 

Trungpa RinpocheThe founder of Shambhala Publications, Sam Bercholz, described Trungpa Rinpoche as “not just another great Buddhist teacher. He was Padmasambhava, Guru Rinpoche, for the West.” And on September 13–14 at the Great Stupa of Dharmakaya the final reading of his The Profound Treasury of the Ocean of Dharma will occur.

In keeping with the tradition of oral transmission of important texts like The Profound Treasury, a reading tour has introduced sections of the text to the public at a variety of places like the Rubin Museum in New York City, the Harvard Divinity School, and the Halifax Shambhala Center.

judy lief reading

Between 1973 and 1986, Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche conducted a series of annual study and practice intensives, called “Vajradhatu Seminaries.” The talks were organized around the three yanas, or major stages, of the Buddhist path: hinayana, mahayana, and vajrayana. It was a landmark moment in a practitioner’s life to be accepted to seminary and even moreso to be able to hear the vajrayana teachings in particular. In these programs he presented heart teachings to his most senior students and transcripts were restricted at Rinpoche’s insistance. However, beginning just a few years after the seminaries started, he began talking about compiling this material and editing it for a general audience. Now, forty years after the first Vajradhatu Seminary took place, Acharya Emeritus Judy Lief has completed the work of compiling and editing the seminary material into three volumes totaling more than 2,000 pages. With the publication of The Profound Treasury, for the first time, these teachings have become publicly available.

 

the Stupa's Buddha

Rinpoche himself talked about looking at traditional literary arrangements of such teachings, referring to shila, samadhi and prajna, for example, as organizing principles for some material. But reviews of The Profound Treasury of the Ocean of Dharma have been full of praise for Judy Lief’s editorial acumen. So please join Acharya Emeritus Judy Lief at the Stupa built in honor of Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche for the resounding, or recitation, of the final chapters of The Profound Treasury of the Ocean of Dharma. This program is open to all and includes a Friday night talk, group meditation practice, listening and reciting, and discussion.

 

Relationships that Work Beautifully

By Paul Shippee

Paul Shippee will lead a NVC weekend retreat at Shambhala Mountain Center September 13-15

megan smiling

The main positive effect of Nonviolent Communication (NVC) practice is to increase your chances of getting a compassionate response from others. I have found that NVC has an amazing result of disarming others as well as one’s own deeply embedded defenses that lead to painful conflicts. Usually, somewhere deep in our conditioned brain, we really think that our defenses are the best way to be safe. But, in NVC practice, we invariably discover that real safety comes from being vulnerable. This unearths a contagious authenticity that fosters relationships, both intimate and casual, that work beautifully.

girl staring at reflectionOnce we can open our heart to ourselves and honestly express what we are actually feeling and needing in the moment, we begin to glimpse new dimensions of life. We take baby steps in trying out vulnerability as a means of trust and smarter safety. This feels uncomfortable as it invites us into a larger world of undefended love and connection to others.

We are conditioned in our culture to speak from the head. The main learning in NVC is to direct your attention to what’s alive in you and become aware of feelings and needs as they arise in ourselves and others. We find that to develop compassion we must bring our attention more and more to the emotional body.

girl screaming at reflection

Even our most functional and fruitful relationships can be marked by judgment, criticism, and other self-limiting junk. When this happens, examine the link between pain and blame inside yourself. It’s simple but it ain’t easy. We are addicted to pleasure; habitually leaning into what feels good. By affecting another person whom we care about, we realize that this dedication to the pleasure-principle is totally irresponsible emotionally. So our escape is blame, and blame feels good because it lets us off the hook as we cleverly and conveniently move our attention to the other person. NVC seeks a softer approach to challenges and helps us to realize that a flow of brilliant communication, joy, and natural peace is always available.girl smiling at reflection

We have a local NVC practice group which has been working with opening this heart space and here’s a sampling of what they have to say about their experience:

Aliyah Alexander: Despite 30 years of working as a psychotherapist and doing my own internal work, I am still challenged every time I utilize Marshall Rosenberg’s guidelines (the founder of NVC) of moving from righteousness (being right) to vulnerability (the heart). Through this practice, communication becomes a stepping-stone into the spiritual realm, which involves moving into a place of empathy with self and others.

Gussie Fauntleroy: One of the most important things I’m learning is how to listen as if everyone matters. A lot of it is learning to recognize and accept, and therefore transform, my own longstanding habitual patterns of communication and interaction and ways of seeing myself and others.

Larry Lechtenberg: I used to go around feeling quite lonely and deeply longing to connect with people, and trying to always discover the “right” thing to make this happen. Now, I think much less; instead I try to observe closely, with the intention of becoming aware of what I’m feeling and needing, and what the other person’s feelings and needs are. This usually produces an amazing feeling of connection.

Kirsten Schreiber: One aspect of NVC that I find myself especially appreciating lately involves being able to go into a space where I can express myself and then step back and listen or imagine what the other person might be experiencing. Having the inner space for that without reacting doesn’t necessarily solve something but it can help me broaden my vision and see a bigger picture.

 

Paul Shippee

Paul Shippee, MA Psychology, studied Nonviolent Communication (NVC) intensively with founder Marshall Rosenberg and other NVC trainers. He has facilitated NVC groups continuously for the past 8 years and teaches NVC workshops around the country. Paul Shippee will lead a NVC weekend retreat at Shambhala Mountain Center September 13-15

Shambhala Soldier: Interview with Paul Kendel

 

Paul Kendel (SSG Ret), MA, is the author of Walking the Tiger’s Path: A Soldier’s Spiritual Journey in Iraq, which chronicles his military deployment in Iraq, experiences of doubt and disillusionment, and eventual introduction to and connection with the Shambhala Buddhist teachings. Paul will be co-hosting a retreat for veterans and their families at Shambhala Mountain Center August 1-4

Paul Kendel

Why are mindfulness techniques effective for ameliorating the symptoms of PTSD?

Mindfulness helped me confront some of the hidden demons related to PTSD. Most veterans want to escape and forget about painful memories related to war, but that is the exact opposite of what one should do. Only by confronting the past can one go forward and live a productive life. Mindfulness meditation practice calms the mind and allows for the proper space for healing to begin.

What was your experience of being in the military prior to discovering the Shambhala teachings?

Before I discovered the Shambhala teachings I had always looked at war and aggression differently than others. I recognized the need for military action under particular circumstances but I did not support the war in Iraq. I deployed because I was already in in the National Guard and it was my responsibility to serve regardless of my personal views. In Iraq I was confronted with levels of ego and aggression that disturbed me greatly. I didn’t see our mission the same as many of my fellow soldiers. I wanted to understand and help the Iraqis, not see them all as “terrorists.” The Shambhala teachings made me realize that it was okay to think the way that I did, that my views were not abnormal.

How have you generated compassion for those who meant you harm, and those allies from whom you were alienated?

The Shambhala teachings helped me understand the motivations of the Iraqis who tried to kill me as well as the views of my fellow soldiers toward them. It wasn’t as black and white as the media would like to portray. It wasn’t a simple fight against “terrorism.” The war was far more complex. The Shambhala teachings helped me see the human element. The men we hunted for or killed were human beings who had families; before our invasion they would probably never have envisioned themselves waiting in the darkness to kill another human being. Likewise, some of my fellow soldiers engaged in acts that they would never have believed themselves capable before being deployed to Iraq.

What problem in transitioning back into a civilian life would surprise someone who has had no exposure to the military?

After returning from Iraq and expressing my views from a Shambhala Buddhist perspective many people were confused. Words like “compassion,” ”basic goodness,” and “Loving-Kindness” are not usually attributed to a soldier’s experiences during war time. My views were based on an effort to understand the Iraqis, but this conflicted with a general understanding of our enemies as terrorists. “You kill terrorists, you don’t waste time talking to them,” has sadly been an all too common approach to the war on terror.

Discerning wisdom is an essential quality of enlightened action, and it seems to have opened you up to much more. Can you recall some interaction with a family member, in the difficult times, that has discerning wisdom behind it?

My experiences in Iraq gave me unusual insight and wisdom into humanity. Sometimes, dark, sometimes illuminating. It certainly shattered any romantic notions of war and patriotism. When I came home on leave from Iraq I told a story to my father and his wife about an incident where I had been nearly killed. Dotted with bad language that I had acquired as a result of my active duty service, my father and his wife got up and walked away in the middle of my story. Confused at the time I forgot about it. But later I realized they had walked away because they had been not only offended by the story but by my language. This did not fit their preconceived notions based on a sanitized understanding of “war.” The reality was that war and its effect on soldiers is not a glorified experience. It’s not all flag waving and patriotism. It’s often ugly, something my father and his wife did not want to see.

 

Interview with Cyndi Lee

 

cyndi leeShambhala Mountain Center is excited to host May I Be Happy: A Yoga and Meditation Workshop for Women August 30- September 2 with influential yoga teacher and writer, Cyndi Lee. She will give a talk and book signing in Boulder Colorado on August 29th.

Tell us about the beginnings of your yoga career and why you became passionate about the practice.

My yoga teaching career began in 1978 when I first arrived in New York City and realized that my $60 weekly paycheck from the Whitney Museum was not going to cut it. So I got a job teaching yoga at a little gym in the Village. For much of my professional dancing career, I taught yoga “on the side” instead of being a waitress like most dancers. When I met Gelek Rimpoche in the late 80s my mind turned to the dharma, and my dances started looking more like yoga than modern dance. My last concert was done in collaboration with my dharma brother, Allen Ginsberg, a long time student of both Chogyam Trungpa and Gelek Rinpoche. After that concert, I stopped dancing and started teaching yoga full-time.

My style of yoga evolved organically from my own background. I called it OM yoga: alignment-based vinyasa grounded in the dharma practices of mindfulness and compassion. After 15 years, I closed my NYC studio. OM yoga Center, to devote more time to personal practice. But I still teach OM teacher trainings, retreats, workshops all over the world and in 2012 I co-founded True Nature, a yoga and music festival based in Japan.

What was the inspiration for writing May I Be Happy?

May I Be Happy was originally titled I Hate My Body. I had an epiphany one day that my ever present inner voice, you know, that one that was always criticizing my body (too fat, too thin, too weak, too tight, too loose, blah blah blah) was a form of suffering. I had learned from my Buddhist studies that Suffering Exists and also that we create our own suffering. So I took a look at that and decided that it was not ok for me to continue to create this suffering around my body. I had to learn to let it go and to love my body. That is what inspired me to write this book. It was not until I lived the story of the book that I found the fruition of the quest and the ultimate title of the book.

Has this project expanded beyond your original intentions?

Well, when I started writing the book I did not know how I was going to turn this thing around. So finding the maitri practice as a personal path toward a more joyful life was a surprise. I also didn’t know that this book would resonate so strongly with so many people. I’ve heard from tons of people, all ages, men and women, that they have been touched and inspired by the book. So I have started teaching May I Be Happy classes and workshops and that has been very powerful.

What advice would you give to our readers on how to be happy?

Read my book! Come to the retreat!

Cyndi Lee’s newest book is the The New York Times critically acclaimed May I Be Happy: A Memoir of Love, Yoga and Changing My Mind. She writes regularly for Yoga Journal, Shambhala Sun, Yoga International and Tricycle Magazine. Her frequent TV appearances include the Dr. Oz Show; Live with Regis and Kathie Lee; Good Morning, America and she has a cameo in Cyndi Lauper’s Girls Just Want to Have Fun video, which she choreographed in 1983. Cyndi holds an MFA in Dance from UC Irvine and is a long time student of Gelek Rimpoche. Cyndi Lee is the first female Western yoga teacher to fully integrate yoga asana and Tibetan Buddhism in her practice and teaching.

Ancient Wisdom for the Modern Couple

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

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

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

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

Keith Kachtick and his partner Camilla Figueroa will be teaching the retreat Loving Your Way to Enlightenment: Ancient Wisdom for the Modern Couple September 13-15