Thursday, April 5, 2012

A Hidden Buddhist Enclave on Hibiscus Island

When we found ourselves in the heart of Hibiscus Island a few days ago, our senses could hardly digest exactly what was unfolding in front of us.

If you've been fortunate enough to be invited to the ChakraSamvara Center you know exactly what we're talking about.

It's like the Yogi's version of "Cribs" - the most tricked out sanctuary we've seen in Miami by far.

Captured in an email in the words of one of the center's current residents, continue reading about ChakraSamvara. Enjoy:

Dearest Jedi,
A little news at to where the winds of cause & effect have blown yours truly...

'Lama Room' for visiting teachers
The first night I that I settled into the "Lama Room" (room for visiting teachers) of ChakraSamvara Center on Hibiscus Island after Mai and I agreed that I would take up residence here for a while the power of cause & effect yet again revealed sweet recognition within my heart & awareness. I was and still am... profoundly humbled & grateful.  As I looked about the immaculate room of marble floors, the ornate King-sized beds & furniture, the exquisitely beautiful Varjayana Buddhist statues and tangka (traditional spiritual art) paintings on the walls it dawned on me that the cause that I had been consistently generating for years on end now delivered me the effect of being gifted with this sacred living space of which I was to now call my home for the time being.  Not only the sacred space of which I take my private rest & work here in this room but also the sacred space of ChakraSamvara* itself as one of the most brilliant sacred spaces I know of in all of Miami.
I had first heard of Mai and the center that she has nurtured into being a few years back within the circles of Miami yogis, Buddhists and spiritual explorers.  Every now and then I would over hear someone saying that they were going to a group "Open Heart" meditation at this beautiful place on Hibiscus Island.  My most special friend Fredda, who leads a VERY enchanted life, recounted her experience here touring the house after a special meditation led by Robert Thurman, Professor of Indo-Tibetan Buddhist Studies at Columbia University and personal friend to the Dalai Lama, when apparently a naughty Tibetan translator to the Dalai Lama wanted to lure Fredda into being his "Tantrica Consort".  Ha!  Fredda had the same experience with Jimi Hendrix back in the day. 
Overlooking Biscayne Bay

Anyhow, I must have heard of and vaguely known about ChakraSamvara for a good 6 years before I finally ended up here for the first time right around the Full Moon before the cosmic 11-11-11 gathering that happened all around the world.  There was a lot of mojo in the air around this time if you all remember... you know, the whole cosmic window opening up on Earth to divine alignment and all that?!  So I suppose it was a pre Full Moon gathering, pre 11-11-11 get together where the center was open to visitors at night and there were some sacred music performers serenading outside at the pool along the magical inter-coastal... a nice little yogi ho-down.  Well, this is when I ended up there the first time.  Our dear Synergy Yoga Sister and Miami Yogi community leader, Victoria Brunacci, was headed to the ho-down and invited me along.  The rest, as they say, is the history unfolding now!

So that night upon landing at the house the magic had already started on the ride heading over the old Deco bridge that connects the MacArthur causeway to Palm & Hibiscus Islands.  I'm sure this was the first time in my 8 years of living on Miami Beach that I actually visited the islands.  The mojo was mounting even as we were crossing the bridge!  Hitting the house for the first time is like an episode of "Jedi Cribs" if there were such a thing.  One hears of spritual mojo and heart opening meditations, etc and doesn't really expect to find such a amazing sanctuary in a seemingly swanky mansion in Miami but indeed, it is so.  I always like to take a stroll around a place to get a feel for the big picture and then feel into where the most sacred spot is so that I can vibe with the "sweet spot".  I finished my once around and new that I had found the sweet spot when I landed at the "Shrine Room".  The honey pot of the ChakraSamvara mojo for sure and one of the most beautiful shrine rooms in Miami and anywhere I've been, actually.
Shrine Room

The shrine room of ChakraSamvara, like any sacred or wonderful place, is best felt in person and any explanation or story pales in comparison to the actual experience of being in the energy field obviously resonating there.  As one of my friends expressed as she was immersed in it for the first time, "There's so much going on in here that's it's difficult to capture it or express it!"  I concur.  Since I've had exposure to many a sacred spot having traveled to India, Thailand and Tibet I have a sensitivity to the subtle magic a space holds when it is an intentional container of sorts.  Temples, monasteries, churches and ashrams all have strong energy fields because of all of the intentional vibrations that are present both invisibly in all of the collective prayers & meditations and also visibly in the sacred objects & symbols- statues, art, burning incense, etc. 

The ChakraSamvara Shrine Room is on the one hand VERY Tibetan Buddhist but on the other hand it is most simply VERY Jedi.  The central force of the space is the statue of Buddha Shakyamuni which probably sits at least 5 to 6 feet tall and this is surrounded by teams and rows of exquisitely crafted statues of many other Tibetan Boddhisattvas (Spiritual Warriors).  The ceiling of the shrine room is open to the top of the house meaning that shrine room is two stories high.  Every wall is a canvas for all sizes of incredible tangkas ranging from enormous to 8 1/2 X 11.  The arrangement of the statues, the wall art and even the color of bulbs in strategically directed lamps is ALL intentional.  This is where most of the group practice (open to the public, by the way) and private energy healings take place.  

That night when I landed in the shrine room I was compelled, like I am at any sacred or holy spot, to put my head on the ground and just say, "Thank You!"  Having received many gifts from the Tibetan Buddhists Jedis I had received yoga teachings from over the years, having traveled to remote mountains & monasteries in Eastern Tibet before the most recent and horrible Chinese crack-down and for the fact that I was not only alive but I was alive AND in such a sacred space.... I was humbled to tears.... I am still humbled to tears.  I sat and meditated in the shrine room for quite some time and a woman had made her way into the room to light special incense and say her own prayers as I was sitting.  It was one of those beatific moments in one's life that constitutes the main fabric of their being.  Thank you, ChakraSamvara!
ChakraSamvara Yoga Studio

It turned out that I had a friend that had been living in the house for quite some time and I remember being genuinely releaved that she was in such sanctuary and especially because she is a single mom and her child was there with her.  I ended up being brought to Mai and was able to meet her after years of hearing of her and ChakraSamvara through the Miami spiritual grapevine.  My first impression of Mai- Sassy Mother Teresa!  As much as she is sassy she is fiercely spiritually aware and does not suffer fools.  If you like cutting to the chase you'll appreciate Mai.  Me personally, I could roll with Mai because I have been around.  I've seen lots of spiritual stuff and spiritual people around Miami and around the world.  I expressed my gratitude for having met Mai and thanked her for welcoming me to her home and her center and was on my way.  There was more dancing to had around town.  Remember, there was magic in the air pre 11-11-11... it was a time to be "out in it".

Karma would have it that I ended up co-hosting a Yoga/Juice Fast Weekend with Sheryn, founder of the South Beach Raw Vegan Cafe- T.H.R.I.V.E. at ChakraSamvaraand (which is happening again April 28, 29, 30- click the link for info or to register) and stayed in the "Lama Room" for the weekend.  There is a built-out yoga studio, a huge communal kitchen, a theater room and multiple sacred spaces and nooks all around the property.  Once the weekend was coming to a close I asked Mai if there was space in the amazing house for a simple Kundalini Yogi and it turned out that the Lama Room was available.  So there I was and here I am!  

It's been 3 months now that I have been living at the "Jedi Jump Station" as I like to call it sometimes and it has been "off the charts" fun and spiritual acceleration for sure.  Eight Tibetan monks and their driver stayed in the house for an entire month along with Mai, her children and a hand full of Jedis and Jedis-In-Training.  Besides "The Force" being strong here, the reason I call this place a Jedi Jump Station is because there truly is much spiritual transformation to be had here.  The built-out studio offers a schedule of Kundalini Yoga with yours truly, Therapuetic Yoga with Bertha, Pilates with Luis and private instruction with each of us and in general.  Then the regular Tiben Buddhist practice which is open to the general public also happens Tuesday & Thursday nights and Sunday morning- the Sunday practice is followed by a vegetarian lunch.  The center is a constant flow of wonderful people both long time practitioners/sangha members and new faces that "show up" here. 

In addition to the group practices Mai performs private spiritual energy healings pretty much all week.  I have personally worked with Mai and HIGHLY recommend her to anyone that wants to clear out the funk and make room for the bliss.  Seriously, she is VERY powerful and the energy work with her is the perfect compiment to any spiritual practice or cleansing that we embark on.
Overlooking Shrine Room

I call this place the "Jedi Jump Station" because it's not about becoming a Buddhist... it's about becoming YOUR BEST!  The intention for beings to heal, strengthen and live their best life is pure here at ChakraSamvara.  It's not only in the talk it's in the walk also.  The 3 Jewels of Buddhism in their most fundamental simplicity and function are ultimately relevant to and FOR all spiritual aspirants.  "The Buddha" is expressive of the "awakened" human being- the fact that it is possible for all us to be awake- NOT suffering.  "The Dharma" is expressive of the teachings & path of wisdom which enables one to wake up & stay awake.  "The Sangha" is expressive of those that sincerely support each other in honoring the wakefulness in each other through sharing the tools & teachings that heal & uplift.  The cause that brought this amazing house on Hibiscus Island into being is the effect of it's being here for you all.  As long as space endures... as long as sentient beings are to be found... we too shall remain to dispel the miseries of the world.

FYI- Mai was the main organizer responsible for hosting the visit & teachings of H.H. Dalai Lama back in 1995 that yours truly attended.  Hmmmmm...

Blessings Jedis, Blessings!!! 

To find out more about ChakraSamvara or to join practices or schedule healings please contact  

*Chakrasamvara- ('Wheel of Perfect Bliss' or 'Wheel of Union') is a tantric meditational deity (Sanskrit: ishta-deva) of the Highest Yoga (Anuttara) Tantra class of Vajrayana Buddhism.)

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