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|Amber Brooks • 2/12/18|
The Short Version: The Shambhala Mountain Center, nestled in a mountain valley in Colorado, is a humble refuge for men and women seeking to cultivate serenity in their lives. The friendly community believes in the value of consciously fostering and reinforcing social connections. To that end, the center offers many thoughtful relationship-building workshops taught by psychotherapists, yoga instructors, and other knowledgeable guides. You and a loved one can come to this sacred space to reconnect with one another and participate in a couples program to learn how to build trust and intimacy through mindful communication. Whether you stay for a weekend or a season, the Shambhala Mountain Center will help you find your center and deepen your relationships in a calm and meditative atmosphere.
Many mindful individuals have found inner peace and heartfelt connection at the Shambhala Mountain Center in Colorado. This quiet meditation center fosters a community dedicated to kindness, peace, and social harmony. Since its founding in 1971, the retreat has awakened the spirits and rejuvenated the hearts of people from all walks of life.
Travis Newbill, Marketing Associate at the Shambhala Mountain Center, told us he and his partner took a relationship workshop offered by the resort in the early days of their relationship. Relationship as a Spiritual Path, taught by psychotherapist Ben Cohen, teaches couples how to resolve core issues and develop the fundamentals for a healthy and trusting relationship.
Some couples travel great distances to participate in the weekend workshop, while some live at the retreat. Travis and his partner used to live there, so they didn’t have to go very far to enhance the passion and intimacy in their lives. They’ve now been together for four years, and they’ve gone back to take part in other relationship workshops over the years to further strengthen their commitment to one another.
“We often reflect on how fortunate we are to have gone through these programs,” he said. “We have a very harmonious and healthy relationship, and we credit these weekend workshops for helping it be so.”
The Shambhala Mountain Center is a 600-acre resort tucked in the Rocky Mountains in Red Feather Lakes, Colorado. About 60 people call this mountain valley home and have established a prosperous community that welcomes anyone seeking to deepen their understanding of themselves and the world. During the summer, hundreds of people stay for weeks and months at a time at this contemplative refuge.
The beauty of the valley is transformative on its own, but the center also provides hundreds of guided programs to help individuals and couples on their journey toward a peaceful, mindful way of life.
“Our work provides us the opportunity to have a community,” Travis said. “For us, it’s important to find a balance between the business side and the community side. Our Director, Michael Gayner, has done a beautiful job of leading in such a way that both sides are honored and cultivated.”
Anyone seeking contemplation and human connection is welcome to come to the Shambhala Mountain Center and stay as long as they like. The nonprofit, which operates under a social consciousness model, believes society is built by relationships, and the retreat wants to explore how to improve, strengthen, and encourage peaceable human connections.
“Our ultimate mission,” Travis said, “is to become more skillful at relationships to one another so our whole culture will be awakened.”
The Shambhala Mountain Center team is guided by the philosophical teachings of Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, one of the most renowned Tibetan Buddhist teachers is the West. His approach to society is grounded on the importance of interpersonal relationships. Sakyong recently came out with a book and online workshop focused on the idea of fostering good conversation and rising above the chatter to build genuine connections. In many ways, “The Lost Art of Good Conversation” is a reflection on the values of the Colorado-based Shambhala community as a whole.
“The interconnectedness of our community is tangible,” Travis said. “You have this interdependence that’s really a microcosm of our global situation.”
Throughout the year, the Shambhala Mountain Center hosts hundreds of programs that centered on Shambhala teachings, indigenous wisdom traditions, body awareness techniques, contemplative arts, meditation, and other mindful practices. The retreat’s programs see students of all ages eager to learn, listen, and understand on a deeper level. Anyone can sign up for these in-depth classes, and many residents and staff members choose to participate in the transformative programs.
Whether you want to become one with your body through yoga or explore the calmness of your thoughts through meditation, you can come to the retreat, stay at hotel-like lodgings, and immerse yourself in a thriving community.
The resort’s relationship workshops are particularly useful for couples who want to grow closer together and singles who want to open their hearts and minds to love. These special weekend workshops see around 20 to 30 participants at a time. Travis said the instructor is typically a learned therapist trained to work with couples on matters of the heart.
Typically, couples participating in a relationship workshop arrive on a Friday and attend an orientation where they’ll learn what to expect from the weekend ahead. On Saturday, the work begins after a complimentary breakfast served at 7:30 a.m. Informational sessions run from 9 a.m. until lunchtime, after which many couples choose to go on a hike together to talk over what they’ve learned so far. At 2 p.m., sessions begin again, and the couples have the chance to put ideas into actions through simple communication exercises.
“The exercises might reveal things about their relationships or offer a way to navigate common issues and obstacles,” Travis explained. “The program incorporates exercises so couples have experience working with techniques that they can then take home and employ throughout their lives.”
The instructor is always there to answer questions and address specific issues for couples. On Sunday, a final three-hour session in the morning wraps up the workshop, and, after lunch, couples are free to leave the resort immediately or linger on the hiking trails to soak in the beauty of the place before going home.
“We see people come out the other side a little bit lighter than they were before,” Travis told us. “That phenomenon is the force that drives this place.”
The Great Stupa of Dharmakaya, located in a green meadow in the Shambhala Mountain Center, is a monument to human kindness. Standing over 108 feet tall, it’s a proud representation of Eastern architecture and a popular tourist destination for Buddhists in North America.
The Stupa is open to visitors from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. every day. You can go to this sacred space to feel more at peace with your surroundings and appreciate the beautifully balanced structure of Buddhist traditions.
Everything the Great Stupa stands for — harmony, prosperity, health, and peace — is close to the hearts of retreat residents and staff. Travis said the tight-knit community consciously promotes goodwill among people because they understand how interdependent human society is. It takes many hands cooperating with one another to bring happiness and peace to the whole.
“A good healthy community allows for good inspiring work to take place,” he said. “Our sense of being connected to one another uplifts our work.”
Travis told us the relationship programs at the Shambhala Mountain Center are helpful for couples who’ve just started dating as well as couples who’ve been married for decades. The accessibility and universality of the relationship lessons strike a chord with many participants, including Travis and his partner.
“Doing the relationship workshops gave us a common language and reference points,” he said. “It gave a framework to establish good patterns and methods of communication.”
The Shambhala Mountain Center is a tranquil place to rest, recharge, and remind yourself what truly matters in life. At the Colorado retreat, you can choose whatever path fits your emotional needs and spiritual values. You can reconnect with a loved one in a couples workshop, challenge your bodies in a partner yoga class, or participate in guided meditation to explore your thoughts and feelings. The center’s compassionate and wise teachings have inspired many couples to recapture the joy and intimacy in their relationships.
“It’s so essential to the existence of the Shambhala Mountain Center to see people attend these programs and come away uplifted,” Travis said. “We’re 46 years into our work, and we’ve found a good balance that is working.”