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From Social Convention … Toward Consciousness and Personal Choice

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As you may already know, Shambhala is an ancient, legendary city in Tibet. The people of Shambhala are dedicated to wisdom and its practical application toward a joyful life, well-lived. This site is similarly dedicated as a pathway toward Conscious, enlightened relationships. Within these pages the Shambhala Master gives us access to the secret wisdom of Shambhala.

Life is the Artwork of the Source.

The Source is Nature and Nature is the Source.
They further the continuity and excellence of Life.

The Source is creating the human mind
As its finest Masterpiece.

Through this Masterpiece we sense our unlimitedness
And the limited time we have to awaken ourselves.

If we treasure the Masterpiece
By furthering the artistry,
Life becomes a celebration,
And we become Partners with the Source.

The Shambhala Master

Stories like Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, Beauty and the Beast, and Cinderella appear to have one universal theme — boy gets girl and they live happily ever after. However, the mythical adventure every prince and princess embarks upon is a symbolic pilgrimage we are all Called* to take into the depths of ourselves.

Anything at All


Modern peoples are now beginning to recognize what was always known to my ancient predecessors. “Health” is dependent on the integration of the physical, mental, and spiritual aspects of ourselves. Today’s health professionals are beginning to understand what my ancestors knew. We cannot separate ourselves from the social and physical aspects of the world in which we live. Our lifestyles have always been the avenues through which we integrate or disintegrate ourselves physically, mentally, spiritually, socially, and ecologically.

Integrating all these aspects of myself with my social and physical environment is what enables me to be right with myself and right with the world. This sense of rightness with myself and the world is what I call Integrity. When life revolves around Integrity it becomes much more than an effort to survive and minimize discomfort. When we commit our lives to personal Integrity, Life becomes a celebration and our health and our relationships are powerfully affected.

Yet, there is a vital element of health and Integrity that is revered by my ancient ancestors and nearly ignored today. It is Self-loyalty. Self-loyalty is knowing that I am true to the inner music of my own spirit. It is knowing that I can count on myself to march to the rhythm of my own uniquely individual, and yet, universally shared, Life-giving harmonics.

Whether I call these Life-giving harmonics the Almighty, the God within, the Source of my Being, the Light, the Divine Self, the Force, the Power, the Creator, Nature, or my Soul, without Self-loyalty I never know whose side I am on. I never know when I will prostitute my Self and abandon the Inner Laws of my Being to march to a socially popular, but personally incompatible cadence.


Without Self-loyalty I may succeed financially and socially, but a gnawing emptiness will eat away at my insides. This relentless emptiness will eventually undermine all sense of personal achievement that I have gleaned for myself. I will compensate for this nebulous emptiness with addictive behaviors, manufactured rushes** and/or self-abusive behavior (overeating, drug abuse, compulsive shopping, excessive sports spectating, etc.). But with Self-loyalty, whether or not I succeed financially or socially, I feel wealthy and at home with my Self and the world around me.

Another benefit of Self-loyalty, as my ancestors have always known, is that it places the control of my life (Self-direction) where it rightly belongs — within my Self. This makes me less vulnerable to the whims of others. It gives me personal control over my own well-being. It helps me become aware of and responsible for my own physiological, psychological, emotional, and spiritual fulfillment. Self-responsibility is a byproduct of Self-loyalty. If I am Self-loyal, then I do not blame others for my unhappiness (my lack of Self-fulfillment). I see it as my responsibility to honor my own Core rhythms and create an enriched life for myself.

Self-loyalty is innate. If infants are not Self-loyal, then they have no will to live. This will to live is demonstrated in the infant's every act. The infant's primary responsibility is to signal the mother when his/her needs are not being met. They are physically congruent with their Inner Promptings. But, as infants grow they are socialized — taught the rules and the rituals of the people they live with so they will be able to relate to and work within their own cultures.

Socializing children requires the teaching of delayed gratification. This forces children to unlearn, limit, temper, and block out Self-loyalty. As children we are taught we are bad if we do not learn to put others before ourselves. We are trained to delay or to ignore our own Inner Promptings. We are forced to deal with emotional rejection and, at times, physical abuse if we fail to abandon our own needs.

Socialization and delayed gratification can be taught in ways that are not detrimental to Self-loyalty. But typically, this is not the case. As children we are forced, on a moment to moment basis, to abandon our own rhythms and march to someone else's tune. The result is that most of us feel guilty, even as adults, if we stay loyal to our own needs rather than attending to the needs of our loved ones. If we have been especially well socialized, then we feel guilty for even listening to our own music rather than attending to the preferences of others. This socially instilled guilt greases the slide into Self-abandonment.


One of the major problems with guilt, and the Self-abandonment it fosters, is that they cause us to ignore our own rhythms, especially the rhythms that painfully conflict with the needs of others. Consequently, after a period of time, we are not able to even hear our own music, even if we try. We become cut off from our own Core cadence. We become one dimensional, linear, and easily directed by others. We lose our Wholeness and “health.” We become fragmented with no link to our Cores to direct us. All we can do is march to someone else's tune. All we can do is to convince ourselves that we hear the beat that other people say they hear. All that is left is for us to need what other people have been taught to need.

Consequently, we desperately cling to the yardsticks others give us to measure our own worth. And so, our adult needs, unlike our once Self-loyal infant needs, are not congruent with our Selves. Our adult needs do not reflect the Core of us. Consequently, we have to devote much time, energy, and money to "therapeutic growth," meditation, and/or biofeedback programs to regain some minimum of access to our lost rhythms, our passion for life, and our inherent Self worth.

Not only will we have to relearn how to hear the rhythms emanating from our Cores, but we will also have to relearn that it is permissible for us to identify with and realign our behavior with these rhythms. For, after so many years of blocking out the Self and attending to the needs of parents, siblings, grandparents, spouses, peers, bosses, off-spring, and friends, the Core is forgotten. It becomes a lost world, a never-never land, that is elusive and hard to believe in. If we can still sense it at all, it is reduced to fluff, while the more “adult” needs we have recently acquired become the substance of our lives. The story of Peter Pan depicts the life of a boy who refused to grow up and let go of his ability to soar into worlds that adults know are "just make believe." The story urges us to reunite with and believe in what was once so real to all of us.


But as we learn to invest in our acquired needs, we can not afford to feel what was once so real at the depths of our hearts and souls. Instead, we believe what we are taught to believe. For example, we are taught to believe good people do not hear rhythms that are out of synchrony with the needs of our loved ones and good people (people who put loved ones first) never have to "selfishly" concern themselves with their own happiness. We are taught to believe good people – "selfless people" – are surrounded by loved ones who are dedicated to making us happy.

After so many years of Self-abandonment, we now measure our "worthfulness" in terms of how many other people dedicate themselves to our happiness. We now believe that someone else can make us happy and that if we are not happy, then it is someone else's fault.


Perhaps the most important liability of Self-abandonment is that it leads us to believe that Self-sufficiency (being able to rely on and trust my Self) is undesirable. We come to believe that Self-reliance is unloving and that the desire to be Self-contained is the fear of emotional commitment. After all, how can a man feel secure with a woman who doesn't need him? How can a woman feel secure in a relationship with a man who is perfectly capable of meeting his own domestic needs? But, if he is all thumbs in the kitchen, the laundry room, and the nursery, and, if she doesn't know a thing about cars, home improvement, sports, loan packages, prime rates, and points … then they are a perfect match; they need each other. They bond like crazy glue.

But relationships based on this kind of mutual dependence only promote more Self-abandonment. And my ancestors have always known that people who chase after the conventional ideals of prince/princessing will experience confusion, disillusionment, frustration, resentment, and anger. In general, they feel "ripped off." They blame their partners for not being all they expected them to be. And, finally, they blame themselves for being unable to find happiness in relationships. Consequently, Shambhala relationships are not limited to conventionally bonded, romantically based relationships.


2 Owls

Even in the times of my ancient ancestors there were countless social/romantic expectations about relationships such as the "perfect partner," or the idea that my partner, if s/he is the right person for me, will bring me comfort, security, and above all, happiness. So, if I feel uncomfortable, insecure, unhappy, or God forbid, stressed out, then I must assume it is my partner’s fault. I assume I'm with the wrong partner. And so, my search goes on and on, romance after romance, affair after affair, marriage after marriage, looking for someone who can keep me feeling young, alive, virile, desired, passionate, protected, taken care of, engaged, productive, and wrathful. An impossibly large bill for anyone to fill. But nonetheless, we have been told that it is possible to find such a person. We have been told that we are a social failure if we do not pair forever with him or her.

This search for the "perfect partner," a person who can make us “forever happy,” is fruitless. Shambhala wisdom teaches us that we all experience conflicts within ourselves as to exactly what will make us “happy.” On a day to day, sometimes minute to minute, basis we sway back and forth, as one need temporarily takes priority over all the others, only to switch our priorities with the next new twist of our lives. The chance that two people are going to sway back and forth in perfect rhythm with each other as our lives take their own complex and unique twists is highly unlikely, especially if the people are alive, aware, awake, cognizant, dynamic and multi-dimensional.


When partners' needs do not match, the conflict creates tension. If we define a successful relationship as a tensionless state, then intra-personal and inter-personal conflict is bound to be experienced as “unhappiness.” The conventional, romantic expectation that “if two people really love each other they can make each other happy” only adds additional tension. The underlying assumption being, “If we cannot make each other happy, we must not really love each other.”

Conflicting needs are not problems needing to be solved or avoided. Conflicting needs are paradoxes inherent within human beings and between human beings. Consequently, any relationship between people who are alive, aware, awake, cognizant, dynamic, and multidimensional will have plenty of intra-personal and inter-personal conflict.

This Shambhala perspective on relationships is not as pessimistic as it may sound. If we learn how to identify and constructively work with these conflicts and tensions rather than trying to hide or fix them, we can use them to our advantage and to the benefit of our relationships.

Capitalizing on conflict, stress, and tension in our modern world is not a skill that is easily acquired. We have come to expect emotional comfort and peace of mind as an earned consequence of a life well lived. Happiness and tranquility, as tensionless states, are goals we pursue with vigor. We feel entitled to them. While conflict and tension are often seen as dangerous to mental, emotional, and physical well being. But, Shambhala wisdom teaches us that a person's attitude toward stress is the deciding factor as to its negative or positive effects.

When conflict, stress, and tension are defined and experienced as states of general arousal, heightened attention, and/or adrenalized excitement, they need not be mentally or physically harmful. These states of increased awareness need not be defined or experienced as negative. They need not be a symbol of a failure to achieve happiness within our relationships. On the contrary, conflict, stress, and tension can strengthen us as individuals and create Intimacy between us by laying a foundation for deeply enduring, life-long relationships.

The tension created by conflicting needs can stimulate learning and heighten a deeper knowing of ourselves and of others. It can foster understanding and compassion and promote an integration, a coming together or Wholeness, with Self and with the Selves of others. This heightened understanding and compassion can integrate all the fragmented pieces and parts of ourselves, no matter how conflicting the pieces and parts may appear to be.

The tension created by conflicting needs, if it is valued, understood, and used, rather than avoided, can bridge what otherwise could never co-exist between ourselves and others. The acceptance, knowledgeable use, and understanding of these unavoidable human conflicts allow Shambhala relationships to develop life-long partnerships which fulfill our multidimensional needs. But learning to accept, knowledgeably use, and understand conflict, stress, and tension is not easy. Nor does it come naturally to us when we live in a world that gives us a thousand reasons and countless ways to run away from conflict and discomfort.

*The word “Called,” is spelled with a bold capital “C.” The Shambhala Master uses bold capitals when referring to the primal, Core, spiritual essence of a word, as opposed to the conventional understanding of the word. Please consult the Master’s Glossary for the definition of this and other unfamiliar terms.

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