As many of your know, we recently released our Maya Meditation Cushions out into the world. Our history with textiles and design is long, but our history of working with our minds and trying to figure out this messy business of being human is even longer! It feels REALLY GOOD to be creating and sharing pieces that hopefully reflect that journey and hopefully resonate with you.
In the twenty years since Summer and I started our mindfulness journeys, a lot has changed. Mindfulness is everywhere now - from the corporate office, to our phones, to the gas station television (I literally saw that the other day!). But it often feels like these efforts are mere palliatives and not enough to make real change; neither in ourselves or in our world.
At Territory, we try and practice what some people call "kitchen sink wisdom" - the idea that wisdom (and true contentment) is not found alone on a mountain top but relating more directly and fully with our everyday lives. From the way we speak, to how we dress and how we behave towards others - it all matters.
The Tibetan Master Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, knew how to communicate these concepts beautifully and succinctly. If you have not read his work, we highly recommend you do. We are revisiting these teachings after 20+ years and the continued resonance in our changed world is profound. Trungpa teaches us that the way to change ourselves is not through avoiding life, but digging deep into our everyday reality. Doing this has the promise of bringing us into better alignment with the natural world, our inner experience and with how we act and relate with others.
A beautiful complement to these ideas, is this extraordinary video by Dr. Robert Lusting sent to us by our friends at Wisdom Sun. In his work, Dr. Lusting makes the distinction between happiness and pleasure (something we hadn't thought about deeply before!). But once you listen to him, the distinction will become VERY clear. Not only do these differences have implications for ourselves as individuals, but really for our whole society. It is truly profound.
There is no substitute for watching it, but four main take aways in providing ourselves more calm, centeredness and ultimately happiness are these - the 4 C's.
1. Connect - Not with social media friends, sorry. While the pandemic has made this challenging to say the least; we are talking about face-to-face, eye-to-eye connection. These connections trigger mirror neurons, which allow us to connect and, most importantly, feel empathy for others.
2. Contribute - Get outside yourself. Volunteer, donate. Be part of something bigger. Our current culture doesn't value volunteerism in the ways it did in the past. But there are still ways to feel connected to your community and give back.
3. Cope - This is a big one for us! Coping basically means self care, such as getting high quality sleep and being mindful in what you do. Evidence shows multitasking and taking on too much kills your happiness (go figure!!) The final recommended coping skill is exercise which builds serotonin all by itself!!
4. Cook - Cook for yourself. There are three main items in your diet that contribute to your happiness or unhappiness. You need more tryptophan, more Omega 3's and less sugar. Focus on that!
We are starting to work on integrating the 4 C's more deeply into our lives. We would love to hear how you work with these as well! As always, stay in touch.
Top calligraphy of Rigden via Shambhala Art and photo of Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche executing a calligraphy for a dharma art exhibit in Los Angeles, circa 1980 photographed by Andrea Roth, 1980. © 2004 by Andrea Roth