The Strength to Sit Still

Jen Sinkler 2Fitness buff, Experience Life Magazine writer, and first-time meditator Jen Sinkler joined us for a Simplicity Retreat this past fall. She decided to come to the retreat a after receiving results of a blood test with high levels of Cortisol ( an indicator for elevated stress levels). By coincidence her editor asked for volunteers to attend a beginning meditation workshop and report back on their experience. Below is an excerpt of her article. To read the full article, click here.

“I signed up for a three-day “Simplicity Retreat” at the Shambhala Mountain Center (SMC) in Red Feather Lakes, Colo. — a beginning meditation course open to all levels. Though I intended to arrive early and settle in, once I landed in Denver I was lured by the promise of a kettlebell workout in a park and a tour of the rugby megaplex in nearby Glendale.

I am inclined to shirk stillness, it seems, even when I claim to want it.

The SMC (www.shambhalamountain.org), which has been hosting retreats since 1971, sits on 600 gorgeous acres of Rocky Mountain ridgeline near Fort Collins, Colo. It’s one of 140 Shambhala meditation centers worldwide. Also on the property is the Great Stupa of Dharmakaya, the 108-foot-tall structure that houses the aforementioned Buddha. Stupas are pilgrimage sites built to honor Buddha or certain saintly teachers’ life works, but are often so stunning they attract visitors of all walks. “A stupa is a place to be still and experience the sacredness of the world,” says Joshua Mulder, director of art and design for the Great Stupa of Dharmakaya.

Interview with a Meditator: Learn to Meditate

 

“People realize that they can make friends with themselves and that seems to be the main point”

Greg Smith started meditating in 1976 and began teaching meditation practice in 1982. In this interview he addresses some of the questions that he regularly encounters with beginning meditators, about the purpose of meditation and the Learn to Meditate program, and his own reasons for beginning this powerful practice.

Beginning meditators rarely begin this practice without misconceptions of what it is that they are doing. For so simple an activity, meditation is often made out to be something it is not. “They kinda want to make their minds go away, which is probably not such a helpful approach” says Greg, suggesting that it’s more about leaning to make friends with yourself.