By Jared Leveille
Jared Leveille is the Land Steward of Shambhala Mountain Center.
2014 is an exciting year for environmentally based programming, and it got off to a great start in March with Martin Ogle‘s program “Gaia: Engaging the Rhythms of our Living Earth“. As a participant of the weekend, I was thrilled to help engage the group in closer observation of the land as we explored storytelling, solo observation points in nature, art, symbology and journaling. The Gaia Theory- which describes the earth as a single living system depending upon a myriad of contributory relationships, interactions and processes shares an interesting common thread with a major tenet of Buddhist philosophy- interdependence- which surmises that all phenomena, human life included, exists in mutual dependence upon one another. Among the group were scientists, educators, environmentalists and nature lovers and each one of us had something important and relevant to share over the weekend, which seemed to support the ideas we were delving into.
‘Exploring Trees and Wildflowers‘, our next program in the Four Seasons series, will be held in June and will be hosted by a trio of teachers who each have a unique and profound connection to the natural world. This program will have more of a bioregional flair, and we will be examining plant communities that flourish here on our 700 acre property, as well as learning about some of their cultural and historical uses.
Photo by Greg Smith
In developing a series of environmental programs here at Shambhala Mountain Center, we hope to rekindle a sense of respect and reverence for the earth, as well as renew the delight and freshness we feel when we can deepen our connection and understanding. When I am out on the land, everything I encounter, whether it be a newly emerged wildflower, a rushing creek, or a dead pine tree, is a teaching. Before we can help our world, first we all must find ways to develop a more profound relationship, a kinship, with the natural environment. Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche joyfully reminds us – “Look. This is your world! You can’t not look. There is no other world. This is your world; it is your feast. You inherited this; you inherited these eyeballs; you inherited this world of color. Look at the greatness of the whole thing. Look! Don’t hesitate – look! Open your eyes. Don’t blink, and look, look – look further.”
To learn more about the SMC land, and keep up with what the natural world is up to, follow Jared’s Friends of the Land page on Facebook.