Living mandala

“This mandala, this sacred universe, which is who we are, is always ready to fall apart. This realization – knowing that there is no singular self in each of us, and instead we are this complex, beautiful, living mandala – is very liberating. It can give rise to courage, love, and joy in our hearts” – Anam Thubten

It’s been a time of tuning into the delicate balance of the elements and the sacred interplay of water, earth, fire, and wind out of which each of us also take form. We’re practicing letting go of preferences and heeding the call of now. After two powerful rainstorms in late October/early November the skies have generally cleared, the temperatures remain warm, and the land is once again quite dry. So we pause with the flow of rains to see with greater clarity our karma yoga path forward this fall.

California Department of Forestry had scheduled December 1st as the start of “burn season” on the mountain – a time for clearing, recycling through fire, and feeding the land it’s byproduct once again. Of course, burn season is actually not an arbitrary series of dates on the annual calendar, but a reflection of our collective practice of tuning into the balance between the powerful forces of fire, water, and wind. Certainly our experience of the last year and a half has made more intimate our connection to the discriminating awareness wisdom of fire. Burn season has been delayed until further notice as we wait for the rain to moisten the earth and a break in the winds to once again tame the platform for our recycling practice of controlled burns.

Anam Thubten’s recent reminder swirls in our consciousness like the leaves in the wind,  “sacred outlook – pure vision – only arises when you know how to drop all of your perceptions, all of your concepts, and to feel the vibrancy, the magic of right now”. A change in the task schedule this fall offers another glimpse of space.

The gap between rains has afforded us an opportunity to see just how the water and earth wants to move this season. We’ve been surprised how quickly the earth is moving already this year. Our preparations in early fall with more major excavation seem to be helping so far. To that we now add more strategically placed berms and diversion swales to coax the movement away from our remaining structures once again. Karma Yogi Eliot May joined us for some digging practice.

Eliot digging

Eliot digging a diversion swale and berm to divert rainwater.

With fall/winter also comes the annual ebb in the potency of the poison oak making trail maintenance a bit more enjoyable 🙂 Karma Yogi Tim McPhillps joined us to help clear the overgrowth on the Dharma Trail (from Prajna to the lower water tank) and Amrita Trail (from the fork in the driveway to the foot bridge over Sweetwater Creek).

Tim clearing brush

Tim breaks brush to use for marking trails.

If you’d like to engage this living mandala by offering ideas or service, email us at If you feel inspired to contribute financially, you’ll find current items of need on our wishlist or become a Friend and donate to the ongoing maintenance of the land here.

Love and gratitude,

Kay & Cory


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