Why Join the Denver Shambhala Center

A Message from Nan Clydesdale

Our contemporary life seems to swallow us up like a swift river. Consumed by our work, busy families and a glaringly divisive society, we are challenged to maintain our social contacts and genuine friendships. Isolated and alone, some people have begun to regard reaching out for human contact as burdensome and time-consuming. 

We join others at the gym or in sports, we make friends at a new job, we get excited about taking on a new interest with others. Do these common interests endure beyond a short attention span that seems to mark our lives?

At the Denver Shambhala Center, our common ground is meditation.  What we share is the experience of being on a personal journey that is unrelenting. Some might call it a spiritual path; others might call it a secular exploration.  Whatever we call it, the more we are involved with meditation and the Shambhala community, the more we are thrust into further intimacy with ourselves. 

We speak of our community as a sangha.  This Sanskrit word originally referred to the community of monks, nuns, and the lay followers of the Buddha.  They supported one another in their disciplines, instructed new people, shared their understanding of the teachings, and probably razzed each other over who would clean up afterwards. 

Moving forward 2,500 years, let’s park our car on Syracuse Way and walk up the steps to the Shambhala Center. Our community may not be the sangha of the Buddha’s time but there are many similarities.  Through our meditation, study, and social interactions, we are exploring – each in our own way – how to acknowledge our human-ness without the fear of being consumed by the harsh aggression of our society. We laugh at ourselves, at our awkwardness and neuroses, and at the same time strive toward relationships based on basic goodness, sanity and compassion. 

Membership in the Shambhala Center does not mean you are committing to become a Buddhist. That is something you might undertake separately in what is known as taking the vow of Refuge. Certainly there have been many members before you who did not take the vow but still participated in the squabbles, the hugs among friends, and the sitting practice.  

If you are considering becoming a member, it may feel a little scary.  You may hesitate because you normally don’t like to commit to any organization as a member. If so, we offer another way of belonging called “Friend of the Center.”  In all cases, you will find yourself among many others who initially hesitated. I am certainly one of those “others.” But today as I serve and engage with others in our community, I know that my appreciation for myself and others on the basis of genuine goodwill and kindness was worth taking that scary first step, to cross over the threshold and become a member of the Denver Shambhala Center.   

Click here to find more information about Center Membership.  Email Nan if you would like to discuss her experience further as you consider your own path toward membership.