Sunday, February 20, 2011

In the Zone

I spent Friday evening and all day Saturday at a mindfulness meditation workshop. The workshop was the first step on the path of Shambhala warrior training. I knew I was going to like it as soon I heard that I could be a “warrior”!

And I did like it. Shambhala is rooted in Tibetan Buddhism, although the focus on mindfulness meditation is compatible with any faith or no faith. I can belong to my Christian church and still be a Shambhala warrior. How cool is that?! (It also says a lot about my church.)

Shambhala is the path of my favorite spiritual writer and teacher, Pema Chodron. If you have read my blog for awhile, then you have run across many quotes and stories that come from her.

I was nervous about going to the workshop. An evening and a full day – that is a lot of meditating. I have been stressed lately, dealing with some family challenges. On a good day, my mediation is more like watching kittens high on catnip than gazing serenely at a peaceful pond. With all the things on my mind, I wondered how I would settle down and be mindfully aware of anything other than my agitation and fatigue.

But it was like a thirsty camel in the desert coming upon a cool, green oasis. The center’s website states, “The vision of Shambhala begins with the understanding that all humans at the very ground of their being have basic goodness and wisdom.” What a gentle, encouraging, loving concept. I sank into the peace and good will of the group, and came home refreshed and inspired, looking forward to continuing the training at the next workshop.

He invites me to lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul. Psalm 23:2-3


  1. It sounds like a very lovely and worthwhile meeting, glad you enjoyed and walked away feeling spirit and freshness! Have a great mindful week ahead!

  2. I'm always surprised how quickly the time flies when you meditate. Normally I fidget about and ache alot but when I meditate I can sit still for hours. Sadly I don't seem to be able to find the right conducive environment at the moment for meditation but as I'm off to France for a couple of weeks and back to nature I'm sure I'll be able to find some time to refres myself.
    This meeting you attended sounds wonderful.
    have a lovely positive week.
    Oh yes and thank you for the smile this morning. I love the idea that you chargrilled your shoes just trying to dy them off :)

  3. Thanks for the interesting post! As I am new to your blog I will definately google Pema Chodron and read more.

    Meditation is challenging to say the least, I recently made a helpful discovery and find that low frequency sound therapy is a great way to get into the mindfulness meditation zone i.e. focusing on nothing

    I have found numerous free android apps for my phone which have prerecorded sounds such as Schumann Resonance and some even more basic such as ocean, rain, wind etc I have ben using Brainwave Tuner Lite and Deep Sleep for the sounds for meditation and for deep restful 7 hours of sleep each night.

  4. How splendid indeed! I often times find myself wondering what ever happened that it seems so many have lost that sense of "basic goodness". This had to be a wonderful workshop!

  5. I reaally wish I could take part in something like this. I need my mind to calm down...

  6. Hi Galen,

    It is great to read that you meditation workshop went well for you. I know how much you need to unburden your mind and refresh yourself and meditation is indeed a great way to do so. What I admire about you is that even though you were nervous about being able to meditate so much, you still went ahead and did it anyway. And the result is that you are one fully nourished camel now. ;)

    Thank you for sharing your experiences with us! :)

    Irving the Vizier

  7. Karen--Thank you. You, too!

    Facing50--Yes, I'm getting jazzed about spending more time meditating. Have a great trip!

    Universal Truth--The use of modern technology to enhance meditation. What a great approach. I hope you will enjoy Pema Chodron. You can find videos online of her interviews and talks. Her books have inspired me for years.

    Mitzi--Yes, it's so simple, isn't it? Just recognizing our basic goodness and the basic goodness of everyone. It's something that we all share and it links us together.

    Bz--If you don't have something like this in your community, there are many books and online resources. I would be glad to help you find something if you need some help.

    Irving--You're great. Yes, I am a thirst-quenched camel right now!

  8. I often wonder... what is prayer if not mindfulness meditation? I do both [sometimes not very well - grin] but I do practice daily. Your shambhala warrior training sounds wonderful. Galen I hope your worries take up soon and you find peace in your quest. We're all in this thing together. It's life... and none of us gets out of it alive! [grin]

  9. I am a Pema Chodron enthusiast and that our spiritual community embraces everyone's path finding and practice too. Most of my community spent this weekend in silence - I pruned trees because the retreat was too expensive and I can do my own meditation and mindfulness all through out the day. I do understand that thirst though and am very happy the weekend was just wonder full for you.

  10. Wow, this is wonderful Galen. I feel so happy for you. I've neglected my meditation the past few days, you so have me wanting to meditate right now!

  11. Your workshop sounds interesting. I'm glad to know that you didn't bail out. I have been to a few meditation retreats. The initial part is always the hardest. Once I get going into the silence, I am always glad to be where I am.

  12. Thx for the offer Galen, I've emailed you.

  13. I'm so glad you found some peace and returned home feeling refreshed and inspired. Your post served as a reminder for me to get back into my routine of yogo and meditation. Lately I've missing that 'centered' feeling.

  14. Jean--I agree about the connection between prayer and meditation. Thanks for the encouraging words.

    Patricia--I would like to hear more about your community!

    Dandy--My motivation to meditate was certainly refreshed by the weekend!

    Evelyn--Yes, it takes a while to transition from our usual busy lives, but it is worth it.

    Bz--I'm looking for some good sites for you to check out. I'll send those along soon.

    Kara--Glad to serve as a reminder!

  15. What a wonderful thing for you. I appreciate that this will got hand and hand in with the church. What a wonderful church you must have.

    Sounds like it came at just the right time for you.


Your comment is valuable and valued. Comment moderation is enabled to block spam, so please excuse the brief delay until your comment appears on the blog.