Program Details

Natural Bravery - Awakening from the Culture of Fear

with Gaylon Ferguson
October 17 / 7:00 PM - October 18 / 5:00 PM

We live in a time of increasingly pervasive fear: fear of ourselves, fear of others, fear of fear itself. Since the devastating events of 9/11, our society has faced the ongoing threat of terrorism, the financial meltdown of 2008, natural disasters like Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy, and the public gun violence of 2012. From personal anxiety to worries about the global impact of climate change, we project a culture of fear.

The Warrior traditions of Shambhala invite us to explore fear as a gateway into fearlessness, our natural state of courage and compassion. Bodhisattvas are essentially beings brave enough to transcend the cowardice of aggression by choosing to act from courageous kindness.

This program offers opportunities for practicing embodied mindfulness alongside group contemplative exercises focusing on the direct experience of fear and fearlessness. There will be short talks followed by question and answer sessions as well as conversational dialogues to increase our capacity for deeper empathetic listening. This is the basis for creating communities of courage.

Gaylon Ferguson is a faculty member in both Religious Studies and Interdisciplinary Studies at Naropa University, in Boulder, Colorado. He is an acharya, or senior teacher, in the Shambhala Buddhist community. After studying meditation and Buddhist philosophy with Tibetan master Chögyam Trungpa in the 1970s and 1980s, Ferguson became a Fulbright Fellow to Nigeria and completed a doctoral degree in cultural anthropology at Stanford University. After several years of teaching cultural anthropology at the University of Washington, he became teacher-in-residence at Karmê Chöling Buddhist Retreat Center, through 2005, when he joined the faculty of Naropa University. He continues to study meditation under the guidance of Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche. He is the author of "Natural Wakefulness: Discovering the Wisdom We Were Born With", as well as his forthcoming book, "Natural Bravery: Awakening from the Culture of Fear".

“(The table of contents, foreword, first 7 pages are available for browsing here.)” 

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