Denise: Circle of Blessing
Denise: Circle of Blessing is a 60 minute documentary about the last three months of Denise Thornton's life. At age 49, Denise was diagnosed with stage-four, metastasized cancer. During the remaining three years of her life, Denise not only defied her initial prognosis of six months to live, but embraced her illness as a spiritual path and as a way of sharing her life with others. A brave and charismatic woman, Denise was a unique individual with much to teach us about our own lives. To see the first seven minutes of Denise. You can order Denise through Chariot Videos.
Since 2004, I've been able to devote much of my time to being an artist/traveler; primarily a writer of essays, travel writing, poetry and memoir, but also as a videographer, documentary filmmaker and photographer. Travel has also been a time of practice and retreat: devoting time to meditation and other disciplines, then immersing myself in the daily life around me in countries including Cambodia, Malaysia, Turkey and France.
Between 1993 and 2004 I taught my creative writing workshop, Chance, Synchronicity and Mind-writing, in Boulder, Colorado and in many cities throughout the U.S. I have taught meditation since 1977, including for twenty-nine years though Shambhala Training and thirteen years, beginning in 1991, at Naropa University, where I also taught classes in poetry and creative non-fiction. During the 1980s I worked variously as a computer consultant, technical writer and accountant.
I was born in 1954 and grew up in South Lake Tahoe, California, a resort town bordered by gambling casinos and built on the shores of one of the bluest, largest, purest, and deepest bodies of fresh water in the world. I have one son, who I treasure and who is a highly creative musician, artist and life-traveler.
Vertical Time Yoga is founded upon what I have learned from many teachers, above all Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, who made this work possible and who continuously inspires it. I am sharing this work as a practitioner with others who might benefit from these ideas and practices and the ways I've found to articulate them.
A homage to various street musicians I came upon during countless walks along Istiklal Cadessi, the historic and perpetually popular grand boulevard of Beyoğlu district, Istanbul.
Stray Dog Productions
All writing and photographs
VERTICAL TIME YOGA: Programs,
On-line Classes & Essays
Detail fr. Allegory, by Piero De Cosima, c. 1500.
National Gallery of Art. Washington DC
If you have an inquiry, suggestion or would otherwise like to contact me, please select the Inquiry box and I will write back to you promptly. Thank you. - Bill Scheffel
Contents of this Column:
I Ching & the Human Body 2014: An On-line Class.
I Ching & the Human Body2013: An on-line Class.
Guided audio instructions in VTY.
I Ching Studies.
A Vertical Time Yoga Retreat.
Essays on the Drala Principle.
Essays on Vertical Time.
This class begin March 3rd 2014.
Be part of an on-line community to bring the gifts of the I Ching - both ancient and contemporary - into your life. The I Ching is a mirror that can align us with our creative potential and the somatic wisdom of our body. Read more...
I CHING STUDIES
The I Ching makes the top ten
list for books to have when stranded on a desert island.
Read more ~
A Vertical Time Yoga Retreat
Sept 5th to 11th, 2013
Dear Friends - I'm holding a Vertical Time yoga retreat from Sept 5th to 11th in Crestone, Colorado. I've arranged for six cabins at the Nada Hermitage, a Carmelite center that has long offered their retreat facilities to people of all faiths and walks of life.
This is an opportunity to have a significant experience of silence and solitiude while at the same time receiving practices that could become useful tools in your daily life. This is also an opportunity to live in intentional community for a week, and each of us will have a chance to share and exchange with the group on a daily basis. Continue reading ~
The DRALA PRINCIPLE refers to a body of teachings Chögyam Trungpa presented in the last decade of his life, from 1978 to 1986. The roots of the drala principle... Continue reading ~
What is "vertical time"? I was staying in Istanbul in the fall of 2010 when I was first encountered the notion of vertical time, though I had been aware of "vertical time" for some years, the occasional sensation of inhabiting a column or portal that extended from the ground below me up into the vastness. Continue reading ~
Distinctions between "horizontal" and vertical time is also a path to move from a conceptual-mental relationship to time and place into a more direct and less mediated one, a place where we experience that time itself is a concept. Continue reading ~
The "wheel of vertical time" is a symbolic map for entering vertical time and discovering guidance. The vertical axis represents the vivid and energetic "place" we stand in (or sit or sleep in). Continue reading ~
The Human Body and Vertical Time: In the photograph above (which I took in Cambodia in 2007), the grandparents of a friend of mine sit in their home, a one-room house in Kandal provence, a village about 100 kilometers from Phnom Penh. The grandparent's previous home was destroyed by an American bomb during the Vietnam War. This grandmother and grandfather are... Continue reading ~
The World Tree & Vertical Time
The illustration above is a modern depiction of Yggdrasil, a Norse version of the "world-tree," a developmental and archetypal map that variously shows the origins of creation as well as systems of interdependence. The world- tree appears in many cultures and is probably best known in Western modernity through the cabalistic tree of life. I don't know what the particular details - the mountain, the rainbow, the little cabin or the paths - of Yggdrasil mean, but the image is immediately compelling to me, and I feel such affection for it. Seeing it is to be empowered with a sense of the coherence of life and the spiritual developmental processes available to us. Continue reading ~
Detail fr. Allegory of Virtue & Vice,
by Lorenzo Lotto, 1505.
The websites, books and other resources shown in this column are relevant to Vertical Time yoga, the drala principle and other subjects found on this site.
Contents of this Column:
Chogyam Trungpa Video Legacy
Chronicles of Chogyam Trungpa
Dharma Ocean/Reggie Ray
Muhyiddin Ibn 'Arabi
Dharma / Arte
Falling in Love with a Buddha
The Mahasiddha & His Idiot Servant
This page hosts video tributes to Chögyam Trungpa, interviews and short documentaries I've made on my travels, as I've had the opportunity to meet with teachers or fellow students who knew him and generously shared their time with me. Go to page ~
For those interested in more first-hand accounts from Chögyam Trungpa's students, there is the Chronicles of Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, a website that is also a treasury of audio and video recordings of Chögyam Trungpa and other teachers.
. . .
Reggie Ray has pioneered new approaches to meditation and the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, work he has called meditating with the body. I have learned, benefited from and taught his methods and highly recommend his work. See the Dharma Ocean website for streaming videos and audios of his teaching.
Muhyiddin Ibn 'Arabi, 1165 - 1240, was, like his contemporaries Dogen, St. Francis of Assisi and Karma Pakshi, a spiritual genius whose influence greatly exceeded his own tradition and era, Sufism, Moorish Spain and the Muslim world of the 12th and 13th Centuries. Attaining realization while only an adolescent, he went on to compose between 400 to 700 books over the course of his lifetime, hundreds of which are still extant. Ibn 'Arabi has become an important figure in my life and is a "distant mirror" or analog of Chögyam Trungpa, Vajrayana Buddhism and the drala principle. I do have three articles based on or inspired by Ibn 'Arabi's teachings:
The Light of Time / Prophetic Guidance &Vertical Time / God is the Beautiful Being Who Loves Beauty: Ibn 'Arabi, Dharma Art & The Paris Metro. You can read a beautiful and penetrating introduction to Ibn 'Arabi's life and work on The Muhyiddin Ibn 'Arabi Society website by Steven Hirtenstein, a premier authority on Ibn 'Arabi and himself a fine writer.
Dharma/Arte Magazine, published from Brazil, is bringing the inspiration of Chögyam Trungpa's teachings on art in dynamic new directions. Visit site.
Please see my article The Eye Knows No Borders which looks at the Inside Out Project and Fevela do Moinho.
Falling In Love With A Buddha,
by Frank Berliner. See my exploration of this compelling memoir.
The Mahasiddha and His Idiot Servant, by John Riley Perks.
See my article on Celtic Buddhism.
WELCOME TO VERTICAL
This page will give you an overview of this site and of Vertical Time yoga, a set of practices and study for restoring primordial alignment. In the column below you will find links to some of my previous work and to my background. ~ Bill Scheffel