Deep in the mountains outside of Fort Collins, near Red Feather Lake, a gilded spire peeks out from the trees. If you didn’t know it was there, it would be a complete shock; it was jolting enough to us as it was.
As you walk the path from the Shambhala Mountain Center main grounds to The Great Stupa of Dharmakaya, the gold glints in and out of the trees, sometimes staying so completely out of sight that it’s easy to believe there’s nothing there but nature.
And then you come face-to-face with an extraordinary sight.
A while back, my husband and I took a road trip from Denver to Laramie. In our research about the most scenic route, we came across mention of The Great Stupa. Whether you’re a Buddhist or not, who wouldn’t want to know more about a stupa in the midst of a 40-year-old Buddhist meditation retreat in the Rocky Mountains?
According to the Shambhala Mountain Center website:
“Stupas are said to promote harmony, prosperity, longevity, good health, peace, and freedom from ignorance. They subdue fear, corruption, and pollution, and bring blessings to the environment in which they are built, to those who build them, and to those who visit and venerate them.”
I don’t know how well The Great Stupa is performing with regard to ignorance, corruption, and pollution, but walking in the mountain air for 20 minutes to see it certainly increased our sense of peace, harmony, and wonder.
What does this have to do with learning and development, leadership, or employee engagement? I have no idea.
Except I do believe that expanding my own horizons benefits not only myself, but those around me. And I did come across the best quote at The Great Stupa, one that relates to both our personal and working lives:
“In the garden of gentle sanity,
May you be bombarded by the coconuts of wakefulness.”
(Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, Buddhist meditation master)
Seriously, isn’t that a fantastic quote? Not being at the highest level spiritually speaking, I’m not sure exactly what this quote means, but that doesn’t stop it from resonating with me.
You could even say it did indeed bombard me.
I think of it as WAKE UP! Look around you. Be self-aware, but don’t become crippled by self-awareness; pay attention to the other beings in your universe, whether that’s at work or at home or just driving in rush hour.
Plonk! Plonk! Plonk!