Happy Monday! I am very happy to be back in the world with a fresh new perspective on things. Over the weekend I attended a meditation retreat called “The Art Of Being Human.” They should have renamed the event, “The Art Of Being Able to Sit On a Cushion and Breath for 10 Hours” because that’s exactly what I did. Sort of.
I am part of the New Haven Shambhala Center which is a branch off the Tibetan Buddhist tree. Our mediation practice is very easy to understand and enjoy. If you know how to sit, stare and breath, you can do it. We keep our eyes open during our mediation practice because that’s what we do when we are not engaged in our meditation practice. How we view our internal selves is similar to how we view the world: with an awareness.
The foundation of the Shambhala belief stems from a concept called Basic Goodness. In a nutshell it means that all human beings are born with the capacity to be good – and that all of us are good – regardless of our actions. If our actions are not good it means that our basic goodness has become murky with ego, experience and ill-intention. We must uncover our own Basic Goodness and the goodness of one another. This is the path to follow. The way of the warrior. In fact Shambhala calls its meditative followers warriors because it takes guts to sit still and be willing to look inside one’s self.
I’ve been a part of the center for over 2 years. In that time I spend about 2 days a week on average engaging in a meditative practice. The thought of extending that time to over 10 hours was a bit intimidating. However, as with anything that holds me back I knew that diving into this weekend would produce the feeling I have today: accomplishment. I didn’t have any epiphanies or out-of-body situations. What I experienced was my thoughts in action, like clouds in a sky. Imagine sitting on your back and looking up at the cloud shapes above. Some look like dogs, others like Chupacabra. Mine look like anxiety with a dash of self-defeat. In addition I realized I spend way too much time thinking about sex. (Nothing passes the time faster than a little mental porn, non). My mental cloud forms are just that – mental illusions that I repeat over and over until I believe them. What I discovered is that by simply slowing down and observing the thoughts in my head, I was able to understand my thought process and tweak the ones that were getting in my way. After all, if you believe in the power of mind manifestation we are essentially co-creating our own destiny. What that destiny looks like is entirely up to you.
The Shambhala community is one of higher understanding and peace (and you don’t have to a hippie to attend) people from all backgrounds and walks of life attend weekly mediation practices. If you are interested click HERE for the schedule.