Floral Notes and Bardo: Blobs of Impossible Tar and Joy

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.

The appearance of muddy terrain — my toes have been squishing around, and there seems to be broken glass and blobs of impossible tar and joy mixed in.

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It’s been a “glitchy” few days.  That’s Heather’s word.

Technology on the fritz, wave-like moods, trouble concentrating, odd dreams, surprise interruptions of all sorts.  Me thinks that Dön Season is upon us!

I’ve been doing alright, rolling with it.  Trying to keep my mouth shut when it may well spew forth subtle toxins.

On another note — such a nice note, series of notes — art has been arising all over the place.  Conversations with artist friends, spontaneous jams, piano music pouring out into the hallway in the lodge.  And, I’ve blocked off some time in the morning to get into some music.

Last night, while Heather was under the weight of an ugly Dön, I pulled out my guitar for the first time in a while and offered some spontaneous songs.

Earlier in the evening, a nice social mixer with the Elephant Journal staff and the SMC staff, in the Shambhala Lodge, by the fireplace, with wine, chocolates, and delicious desserts made by the kitchen folks.  Lots of loving toasts and conversations.

Good to connect with Waylon, a true sangha-homie and legendary Colorado character.

Meanwhile, continuing the contmmplations on emptiness.  According to the Cittamatra school (via Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche):

“…when one wakes up, one realizes that there were no outer perceived objects other than the mind itself.”

And it’s like that with “waking” reality as well.

There’s lots that could be said about the “mind only” school.

Anyway, I’m going to study a bit, send out a big email broadcast, meet with the umdzes for lunch, do some Ikebana for the staff shrine room, do some chores at the Stupa, and the exhale into the day of rest.  TBIF.

– January 16, 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: Kill the Buddha

 

Floral Notes and Bardo: The Creative Chronicles of a Shambhala Mountain Resident is a daily feature on the SMC blog in which a member of our staff/community shares his experience of existing as part of Shambhala Mountain Center.

Black honest and white too pure for stars to hold. The shakier the fringes the more it may be expanding. More space-venue for exploration.

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Dön Season Day Two:

In the morning, Mr. Cushman helped me with the Vajrasattva mantra. It’s long and hard to pronounce. In the evening when Greg lead the chants, he whipped through the mantra so swiftly that I had no chance of reciting it along with him. After a few times through (we recite “Pacifying the Turmoil of the Mamos” 21 times during Dön Season)… After a few times through I gave up on trying and instead just opened up to Greg and connected with his recitation. He was positioned beautifully, an elder master, conducting the ceremony using sacred implements–bell and dorje, displaying mudras.

Later in the evening… A disagreement with teacher in class regarding a point of dharma. I felt confident that he was not presenting a point accurately and so felt responsibility to debate him. It was a long exchange, which ended in me saying that “we have different interpretations.” It was unsettling…

Döns are ripening negative karma. This was definitely a moment of that. Afterwards, when I was discussing the event with Heather, I was feeling myself slipping towards emotionally charged criticism of this teacher–harmful speech, “talking about injured limbs.” No good. At that moment, she interrupted me and brought me to a wall on the other side of her room where pictures of My Little Pony characters are hanging.

She told me how the six main character ponies seem to represent each of the Six Paramitas, which we were discussing in class.

She protected me from creating more negative karma. Whether or not she did it on purpose isn’t important. Interference like that is good, is protection. We chant in order to bring about occurrences like that. In order to influence the flow of reality so that events arise that wake us up, that stop us in our tracks when we’re about to do something stupid.

–February 21, 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 Head Dekyong–a position of leadership within the community.