Meditation instruction is available at 7pm Tuesday, 9am Sunday, 7am Monday – Friday, or by appointment.
Marshall Bishop (916-792-3960)
Lyle Larson (530.210.0001)
Patti Larson (530.210.5603)
Joel Mandel (530.304.9098)
Sarah Mandel (530.753.4339)
Rebekka Martorano (530.756.9605)
Henry McHenry (530.756.3202)
Manny Medeiros (530.902.3159)
Musawwir Spiegel (530.758.4057)
Yasmin Spiegel (530.758.4057)
Gene Tashima (530.756.5750)
Richard Darsie (530.753.5981)
Bill Fell (530.753.2846)
Elvia Garcia (530.574.7427)
Amanda Hodson (505.720.6834)
Laura Livingston (530.908.8203)
Edmund Mills (720.219.6214)
Zenna Mohr (530.756.6612)
Helen Tashima (530.756.5750)
Mary Tracy (530.758.0445)
A Spiritual Friend
People from many backgrounds visit, participate and join Shambhala Meditation Centers. Some come for friendship, others to cope with stress or suffering, and still others to find spiritual awakening. Each person is part of our Sangha, our group of practitioners, participating in ways as varied as their backgrounds. As a group, and as individuals , we study and partake in meditation practice. A meditation guide is useful and meditation instruction is free at Shambhala Centers.
Shambhala Meditation Instructors are not gurus or priests – they are guides along the Buddhist path. Meditation Instructors (MIs) are spiritual friends, senior practitioners in the Sangha, who lend an ear for practitioners who want to talk about practice. A Shambhala MI can help keep practice fresh, alive and growing straightforwardly. For example, you might want to talk to your MI about how to fit practice and dharma into your life. Many practitioners discover challenges in applying experience on the cushion to other places in their day-to-day lives such as work, home and the street. An MI can help by listening and discussing their experience and that of other Sangha members.
A Shambhala MI is not a social worker or psychologist. An MI is a trained teacher who works with your practice aspirations. They give instruction based on your path. You schedule the pace and interaction. For instance, MIs guide by giving one-on-one Meditation Instruction to newcomers. After a newcomer has more practice, in later meetings the MI might recommend educational programs, such as Shambhala levels, to a person who aspires to deeper meditation training. An MI shares their knowledge about joint community practice, readings, teachings, oral history, training opportunities, community service, dharma studies, practice groups and the arts including calligraphy, thanka painting, archery and ikebana (flower arrangement). Our Sangha is replete with these opportunities and an MI can help open one’s path when it feels narrow, thin or constrained.
Relationships with MIs develop over time and change. People even change their MIs. Many people have different MIs over a number of years, and consider all of them spiritual friends even though working most closely with one MI at a time. The relationship to an MI is like a conscious commitment to practice too – because through meetings and conversations with your MI you can discover where you are skimping and where you are being generous, direct and honest in your aspirations and actions toward your goals.
How do I get an MI?
You ask one. Shambhala Centers have many senior practitioners who are MIs. At open house weekends and events the organizers and speakers are often MIs. Your MI might be someone whose talk, laughter or manner caught your attention or heart. Maybe it was they way they carried themselves upright and smiled. Perhaps it was their vulnerability and compassion. Or in a conversation you discovered you have a common interest. Being part of a Sangha allows one to connect in many ways. One of these may be the way you find your MI.
In Shambhala there are multiple paths. There also are three main types of formal spiritual friends:
Shambhala Guides are less-senior practitioners who can introduce newcomers to meditation by giving simple instruction in a broad context. After two meetings the guide will suggest beginning a relationship with an advanced MI who is more fully trained to work on an on-going basis with students. The guide, of course, can remain the practitioner’s spiritual friend.
Meditation Instructors are advanced instructors trained to work with students who aspire to engage in on-going practice. Trained in the Shambhala and Buddhist paths, they are daily practitioners and teachers and who have attended seminary.
Practice Instructors are advanced instructors trained to work with students who aspire to engage in on-going practice. Trained in the Shambhala and Buddhist paths, they are daily practitioners and teachers dedicated as a specialist in the Shambhala Training path.
In Shambhala you may find that your MI serves multiple functions, depending upon their training, interest and Sangha needs. One common point is that all MIs are committed to upholding a sacred relationship – that of a spiritual friend and guide. Your MI, as such, is dedicated to maturing your spiritual journey in line with your aspirations and abilities. Trustworthiness, kindness, patience, generosity and wisdom are characteristics they embody for your benefit. The MI relationship is a sacred gift from our Sangha to you. We encourage you to enjoy its benefits.