Floral Notes and Bardo: Golden Sky, Level 1.5


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.

brought close to
buzzing fly–not to fry the lil’ baby, but to remind it
of eventual disintegration.

Golden water will vanish, and also: butterflies.

Not so scared of tumbling into the dream.


Time spent with sky and sparkling snow, and emotions, my friends and Teacher Steve. I was a helper for Shambhala Training Level I last weekend. Two years after I first took the program with David and Ethan Nichtern in NYC. It was a wonderful experience–again.

After a full weekend–full heart, full of meditation, and awakening-moments, a walk around with friends up to my little house for a tea party. Then hiking back down–gazing 360 with amazement at the sunset. A lovely nap/sweet cuddle. Barely made dinner and heard about a party. Across the land again, now stars out–baffling. And giddy to be walking with this friend. Joyous gathering–sweet booze/poison from Chile, saw my dear heart-friend (had been a long time), and an amazing tarot reading–one friend to another in the middle of the party. Incredible–loving, wild, comedy. Trio hike home. Big moon. Friend showing me constellations, then goodnight. Late to bed. Laid awake–again. Laying down meditating. Opened my eyes to golden sky.


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. 

Paying Attention to One Detail: Listening

By Janet Solyntjes

Janet Solyntjes will be leading Introduction to Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, March 6-8, 2015

JanetSolyntjesListening in Meditation
How many times have you wondered what to do with the discursive mind in meditation? Before we “do” anything, it is important to listen. With what kind of ears do we listen to this internal voice – the monkey mind? Our listening is with the ears of non-identification. Listening without identifying with the words is not the same as blocking out thoughts or ignoring what is already present in the mind. To listen in this way takes tremendous gentleness and courage. Sometimes the thoughts are self-critical, sometimes they are gibberish, and sometimes they are emotionally charged. Just listen. Let them be. Can you do this for the next 10 minutes?

Step 1: Settling into your body, into being present with yourself.
Step 2: With curiosity, noticing the internal dialogue. Are the thoughts passing through your awareness few, many, quiet, or loud?
Step 3: Listening without identifying. Opening to present thoughts with an attitude of gentle observation.
Step 4: Letting go of the “exercise” and proceeding.

Listening to Others
Research has shown that where we typically place the onus of meaning in interpersonal communication – on the person speaking – is a misunderstanding of what actually occurs. It is the listening that creates meaning. How we listen to one another, rather than how well we deliver our message is the foundation from which meaning arises in conversation. Today, when you have an opportunity to speak with others, can you practice “suspension of certainty” and listen with a truly inquiring mind? Are you listening to both the words and the feeling behind the words?

Training in Paying Attention
While paying attention is something we do naturally, we all would benefit from training this capacity further. There is a rich collection of mindfulness tools one can engage and utilize in daily life. The Introduction to Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction retreat offers instruction and guidance in mindfulness and supports a “coming to our senses” which awakens and enlivens each moment.

I hope you will join me!


Click here for our full interview with Janet

Also, please see this post from Janet on our blog:


JanetSolyntjesJanet Solyntjes, MA, is a senior teacher in the Shambhala Buddhist tradition and Adjunct Professor at Naropa University. A practitioner of mind-body disciplines since 1977, she completed a professional training in MBSR with Jon Kabat-Zinn and Saki Santorelli and an MBSR Teacher Development Intensive at the Center for Mindfulness at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. Janet leads mindfulness retreats in the U.S. and internationally and is co-founder of the Boulder-based Center for Courageous Living.