Enlightened Society

This weekend I am going to a Shambhala Training, level one: The Art of Being Human. This is a one credit course through Naropa. For the past couple of months I’ve been reading Sacred Path of the Warrior.

I’ve been interested in this training since I went to a talk at the Lexington Shambhala Center. At the talk in Kentucky, Lance Brunner described Shambhala training as a secular practice that could be combined with any (or no) religious practice.

I have seen the power of religion. In some very real ways my brother’s life was saved by his finding religion. I remember when he went to the hospital and the doctors told him if he didn’t stop drinking he would not live to be 25. He is now very involved in his church, community, and family in practical ways that I admire. He credits his christian beliefs with changing his life.

Even though I can appreciate the power of religion (community spirituality), I have a strong mistrust of organized religion. This Shambhala Training has the potential to provide what I’ve been searching for: a practice and spiritual community centered around compassion that is not limiting or defining.

I wouldn’t want to belong to any club

that would have someone like me as a member.


Tonight was a two hour lecture to start off. The speaker (Walter Taylor) introduced the idea of Enlightened Society. He said when we talk about society we have to talk about ourselves. And we have to decide how we define enlightened ?. In Shambhala practice an enlightened society ? is one where the general well-being of the society is the motivating factor and there is a balance between aggressive behavior and renuncation.

He explained that in Shambhala practice the term warrior is the opposite of the aggressive/violent warrior model but instead refers to the courage one must have to face their reality, to ride their own mind.

He talked about different types of truth. I was happy to hear him say democracy is an aggressivve version of truth ?. Right on. He said shambhala truth is seeing what is ? and he got more specific and said it is seeing that there is enough, there is wealth and generosity ?. I can dig that.

He explained that Shambhala is not a utopian society. In Shambhala society there are differing ideas on how things should be. There are differing power dynamics and political groups.

The last half of his talk was on Basic Goodness. He described basic goodness as beyond concept, pre-thought, without beginning or end, unconditional, and like little babies. I smiled then. He also said basic goodness is not only found in Shambhala. I smiled then too.

So tomorrow is lecture and meditation (sitting and walking) from 9AM to 6:30PM. Afterwards I’ll be going to a school mates party: drum cirlce and potluck. It’s a fundraiser to help a brotha’ go to Africa. He is going to Guinea, West Africa.

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