Floral Notes and Bardo: My Lil’ Spot and the Ongoing Miracle

By Travis Newbill

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.

“…the womb of Avalokitesvara, a vast secret silence, springtime in the Void…” –Jack Kerouac

Drawn like a sketch, watercolor, drawn by a star–across the meadow, into a spot in the valley –feels like home.  I’m in my spot.  I am that spot.  That spot is my spot.  There is no better spot for me.

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After four months in the cushy (oh so cushy!) lodge, we’ve moved back out into the woods, into our little cabins and trailers.  I’m so glad for it.  I’d been becoming a bit attached to lodge living–a bit lazy, a bit like vacation.

Now, getting back into my groovy little cabin last night, right near the Stupa, felt so good.  After being in there for a few minutes it started to overwhelm me.  It was like connecting with an old friend.  I’ve never felt more at home in any spot on this planet than I do in my little cabin on the hill, which Trungpa Rinpoche named Avalokiteshvara.

I glowed for a while.  Heather was up on the loft in the bed, enjoying my giddiness–deep giddiness.  I lit my incense and hugged the house with my energy. Ya, ya, ya… Ahh.

So glad.

And… Heather was now in my house, which was so surreal.  It’s been such a solitary, mystic, artist thing up there.  Now, she has manifested like a dream.  Before she arrived at SMC,  I sang about her in that house, her art was on the walls. Now she’s here.  Beautiful girl in my little house.  Little honey blessing.

Before we turned out the little solar-powered lantern to go to sleep, the little book on my milk-crate night-stand was calling me: The Scripture of the Golden Eternity.  My brother gave me his well-worn copy a few years back.  It’s a special book–beat-dharma from Brady.  So, the little book was calling me and I felt like there was something nice in there for the moment.  Here’s the passage that I opened up to, by chance/karma:

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The words “atoms of dust” and “the great universes” are only words. The idea that they imply is only an idea. The belief that we live here in this existence, divided into various beings, passing food in and out of ourselves, and casting off husks of bodies one after another with no cessation and no definite or particular discrimination, is only an idea. The seat of our Immortal Intelligence can be seen in that beating light between the eyes the Wisdom Eye of the ancients: we know what we’re doing: we’re not disturbed: because we’re like the golden eternity pretending at playing the magic cardgame and making believe it’s real, it’s a big dream, a joyous ecstasy of words and ideas and flesh, an ethereal flower unfolding a folding back, a movie, an exuberant bunch of lines bounding emptiness, the womb of Avalokitesvara, a vast secret silence, springtime in the Void, happy young gods talking and drinking on a cloud. Our 32,000 chillicosms bear all the marks of excellence. Blind milky light fills our night; and the morning is crystal.

This morning I woke up at 5, walked down to the outhouse singing, just like I used to (my body remembered just what to do).  I kissed Heather good-morning, made a lil’ pot of pu-erh, lit my incense and offered water on my little shrine, lit the candle, did my little lujong routine, sang a bit and then out the door to breakfast.  Feels like falling right back into the grooviest groove I’ve known in my life.  Said good-morning to my neighbor: The Great Stupa.

Mojo, mojo, mojo.  Wishing that beneficial songs, truths and beauties may come forth in this new/familiar arrangement.

May all beings know good mojo, good houses. May all beings recognize the ongoing miracle.

–March 24, 2014

~~~

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. 

Floral Notes and Bardo: Magic of Many Varieties

 

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.

Fire-hose full of Kool-Aid
blasting tranquility and simplicity into a bouquet of happy madness–
landing on a bed with
plush animals–hearing a bedtime story
Wake up to blood-orange sky, late in the morning
crushed ideas becoming sunsets, watching, surrendered to larger-than-my-thoughts
ART

On a flesh canvass, a wink at my foolishness. A wink of understanding between fools–friendship.

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Heather and I seeing each other through binoculars in the Stupa after community practice of the Sadhana of Mahamudra, which Trungpa Rinpoche received in a cave in Bhutan and offered to contemporary world even though/because it’s crazy and blows brains and delusion into indestructible magic-music.

Gathered in the Stupa–friends become vapor-dharma-heat. Full moon above.

Later, sake with Mr. Cushman and a few fellows–discussion of SMC adventure (that’s my attitude).

I jumped out of the conversation in order to make my 9:30 lullaby date. Afterwards, I laid awake for a bit, sake in belly, rumbling.

This morning I woke up and saw a note which had been slid beneath my door:

“Thank you for being open and available for magic of many varieties.”

~~~

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. 

Floral Notes and Bardo: Into Crystals, Refracting

 

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.

Yesterday a stream of powerful teachings in, through, from, the Stupa. I sat within the stream, arriving nowhere, continuously–to my delight, terror, amazement.

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Here’s what happened:

Acharya Emeritus Judith Lief spent many years compiling and editing the teachings that Trungpa Rinpoche gave over the course of thirteen three-month long seminaries. Until earlier this year when “The Profound Treasury of the Ocean of Dharma” was published, these teachings were not available to the public.

To celebrate the publication and the teachings themselves, there have been “Resoundings” or “read-a-thons”–folks have been reading the books aloud all across the globe. The final “Resounding” took place yesterday, with Acharya Lief, in the Stupa.

I was moved by the words. I moved the words. The whole thing was huge and fluid.

We were resounding the vajrayana teachings, which… are utterly beautiful and shattering. I was shattered and swept into the air–crystals refracting brilliant light.

After the first session–three hours of continuous resounding–we exited the Stupa. Looking up–rainbow colors, so vivid, in the clouds around the sun, behind the Stupa. ohwow…

I went down to lunch and nearly yelled at my friend when he told me he wouldn’t be attending the afternoon session because he was going to do laundry.

Moments later another friend of mine turned a cold shoulder towards me. I don’t know why.

I felt shattered, more.

The teachings emphasise the importance of building a strong foundation in the Hinayana–cause no harm; and the Mahayana–cultivate empathy. It’s crucial to do  this before entering into the Vajrayana–sacred everything, engage.

I recently took Refuge in the Three Jewels–formally entering the Hinayana stage of the path. Historically, I have often felt anxious to “get to the good stuff”–a.k.a. the Vajrayana magical stuff. I felt so glad and inspired touching into the stream of vajrayana teachings yesterday. It feels good to glimpse it. At the same time, I am becoming more and more respectful of my current spot. I’m in less of a hurry.

The teachings are brilliantly alive here, at Shambhala Mountain, where I live. I am here. I can stay here and progress along the path at a natural pace. I can afford to go deep into each stage.

It’s happening in unexpected ways.

Things don’t need mouths to speak–communication is happening all the time. There is always feedback. There is a message in each moment. That’s what the teachings say. That’s what I say.

This morning I was sitting at the table eating breakfast. I was looking around at the few other people scattered around the room–My fellows. My community. My family.

Sangha.

I have been feeling blown-out. I have been feeling as though I have no grip on what is happening. I have been sensing that the idea that there will ever be relief is just wishful thinking. I’ve been experiencing devastating loneliness. And I KNOW… I KNOW…

I KNOW… because I have felt this before, because I am somewhat familiar with the pattern, with how things arise and give way, how insight and growth occurs…

I know that the thing to do is:

Hang in there. Be curious about it. Don’t try too hard…

We’re all hanging in there (in here) together. That insight brought relief at the breakfast table. Being kind then felt like a very simple and effortless thing.

Sitting in space, trapped in space without a home… all of us. Seeing–the source of warmth?

~~~

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.