A great deal of chaos in the world occurs because people don’t appreciate themselves. Having never developed sympathy or gentleness towards themselves, they cannot experience harmony or peace within themselves, and therefore, what they project to others is also inharmonious and confused.
—Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, Shambhala: The Sacred Path of the Warrior
The Mindfulness & Embodiment Course is a series of live sessions joining somatic practices of embodiment with the view and practice of meditation to support meditation practitioners of all levels of experience. Presented by a diverse group of embodiment practitioners and Shambhala teachers, we will explore such topics as:
In Shambhala, the ground of compassion and the intention to engage with kindness toward all beings is based on our inherent basic goodness and a lack of fear of oneself. How we feel in our own skin and how we relate to our bodies—either with appreciation and love or with judgment and inwardly directed aggression —is part of the healing journey that one takes on the Shambhala path of meditation.
When we fear ourselves and lack trust in our own lungta (a Tibetan word for “life force energy” or “chi”) and the confidence that is manifest and expressed in our bodies, it becomes easy to fear others. When we dis-connect from our own “bodyness,” another’s body can become a threat and we fear the intimacy of human contact. The result of this dis-embodiment is a fear of space, feeling too vulnerable to “put oneself out there” and dance with the unknown, and our communication suffers and reaching out to others becomes difficult.
Another consequence of a lack of embodiment is that we lose the sense that our own body is a smaller reflection of the earth’s body. We contain all the elements of the earth within us, and the appreciation of water, fire, wind, and all the earth’s elements is deeply connected to the care or dis-regard we have toward our physical bodies.
Erika Berland, is a Certified Practitioner of Body-Mind Centering (R), a Registered Movement Therapist and licensed Massage Therapist. Erika has an extensive background as a dance teacher and performer and has taught workshops in experiential anatomy and dance in numerous studios and schools throughout the US and Europe. In 2004 she and her partner, Wendell Beavers, created the MFA: Contemporary Performance Theater program (2004-2020) at Naropa University where she developed a 2-year training for performers, integrating meditation and dharma art principles into a somatic movement curriculum. Erika is a senior teacher and Meditation Instructor in the Shambhala Buddhist lineage. Her book, Sitting: The Physical Art of Meditation, was published in 2017 and she has a number of chapters in books on movement and performance technique. She has presented numerous programs on embodiment and the physical posture of meditation for the Shambhala community over many years. Her websites are erikaberland.com and beaversberlandworkshops.com.