I first received meditation instruction at the Shambhala Center in San Antonio in the summer of 2012, in a time-frame of loss.
After an initial period of observation, I began taking programs within a couple of years. Over time, I began detecting benefit from the teachings in a way that helped me flow a little easier within challenging circumstances.
I took Refuge in 2014, and took the Mahayana path in 2016. During that time frame, I was more heavily involved with volunteering at the local center, primarily as an assistant.
In 2017, I went back to college, which for the most part suspended my volunteerism at the center. However, that was the year I began a meditation group on campus.
After college, I volunteered in the kitchen at KCL. While there, I began attending more advanced programs, including becoming a meditation guide.
In 2018, I entered an intensified direct path, considered advanced practice. All I can say is that it is a little bit like riding a bull.
In 2019, I got my official wings as an Umze.
On my return to San Antonio, I volunteered giving meditation instruction at the local center, until my work schedule made it impossible.
Then the pandemic hit. This has been a time of solitary study and practice due to limited internet. My advanced practices made it possible for me to heal old familial wounds, and to care for an aging parent while isolating together.
From 2012 to 2021, I can say that the journey has been long. While it is not possible to pinpoint what benefit each class has brought into my life, I have noticed an improved ability to deal with life's unexpected surprises.
I'm an only child helping an aged parent during the last phase in life, trying to heal intergenerational trauma for the benefit of our family in the three times.
I was born into muddy waters, aspiring to be a lotus on the surface of the water.
I managed to motivate my young self to do well in school in an attempt to break through the glass ceiling of self-esteem. I realized as an adult that society's marks of accomplishment are only crutches of self-worth.
Currently failing at a "successful life," aspiring to find the jewel of my authentic self for the benefit of all beings.
The events that have brought me most joy in my life:
* Living in trains and meeting internationals while backpacking Western Europe during study abroad in my undergraduate years
* Four years of international work in sustainable agriculture and environmental education while serving as a Peace Corps volunteer
* Getting a master's degree, despite a low birth and unfavorable circumstances
* Learning how to forgive those that have caused me most harm
I am grateful for the multiple wingless angels that have come into my life with blessings that have brought me knowledge, joy, and friendship, even just momentarily.
Diana Mukpo, Agness Au, Gaylon Ferguson and Loden Nyima
This retreat is a continuation of the studies I have already undertaken in the past. It is a way of relating to the sacredness of everyday life.
The practice of Werma, according to the program information page, "is a means of accomplishing the warriorship and enlightened society so deeply called for in today’s intensely challenged world as we yearn to manifest true to the sacred nature of ourselves, each other, and the environment."
"Focused on the Werma Sadhana, these assemblies are an opportunity to enter further or refresh a connection to the Shambhala terma and Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche’s teaching streams. This will be a reunion of warriors to celebrate together, find healing in community, deepen our practice, and receive instruction on the Werma Sadhana in a retreat setting."
Most currently, I have been doing intense daily pandemic practices for the benefit of all beings (which includes Tara and Medicine Buddha practices, and Protector chants).
Materially, I have been offering my time as a volunteer in a local mass vaccination site, and helping supply a local food bank. I have also been offering blood donations as often as I can during this time of shortage.
In the foreseeable future, I aspire to give meditation instruction, and help lead (umze) practices - my favorite is the Shambhala Sadhana. (I have also begun intense merit-generating practices for the benefit of all beings, which includes tonglen practice.)
Program Price: $325
Scholarship received: $225
Balance Due: $100 [+ 2.75% processing fee]
(Processing fee: $2.75)
Materials Fee: $90.75
2.75% Administrative Fee: $5.60
7% Online Transaction Fees: $14.824
Total requested: $214
(Any extra funds will be offered as a donation to Shambhala Mountain Center, which suffered damage during the Colorado fires this past year.)
*** Heart Gifts for the teachers have not been included in the requested amount. ***
- Toby Simpkins
- James M Lowrey