Spending a morning with the dralas of Casa Werma.
Captured and Cut by Chase Bauer
In May I travelled to Mexico City with a group called Speak Up Chicago for the Ziji Collective Global Summit. During the weekend discussions were had about how young people can engage in mindfulness practices in a rapidly changing world.
It was followed by a week long retreat at Casa Werma. I've been in love with the late Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche's teachings since I was fifteen years old, and Casa Werma always had a magnetic pull for me as a place where his energy seemed very alive. The entire trip to Mexico was last minute for me, and the program wasn't just full, it was over-flowing. At the encouragement of the teachers, I chose to wake up early the morning they were departing Mexico City for Casa Werma, with bags packed in case there was room in one of the vans. There was no room.
About as soon as I came to terms with the fact I would not be visiting Patzcuaro with the rest of the gang, Acharya Lobel stepped in and adamantly insisted that I MAKE room in a van, and so began my six hours crunched in the aisle of a 15 passenger van, sitting awkwardly on a sideways gomden, knowing it was worth every kink being born in my back.
For personal projects I brought some modest video gear; an Olympus OM-D E-M10 (which is hardly made for video, but it was good enough for the time being), a Zoom H4N audio recorder, and my father's old Pentax screw mount lenses I had bought adapters for. I felt inspired to capture a little video and edit it as an offering for the generosity of the teachers and the directors, Ryn and Kai. This is my first complete promo video project, and though there are things I would change and do differently, I feel proud of it and I think I was able to capture a tiny little fraction of the magic which is a Shambhala land center.
I was talking to Ryn about how inspired I was by the sounds of the birds, and my desire to record them. She said the prime hour for their songs was about 7:45am. So the following morning I woke up at my hotel before dawn and walked the quiet streets of Patzcuaro, through the market which was almost still, and to the property where a few early morning meditators were just about to start practicing. I set up a little recording camp and waited. As soon as the light started to crack over the horizon the birds began their symphony. The highlight of my week in Mexico was sitting there and listening to that wild concert. And just then the bells of a nearby church began ringing, and I knew this would make a perfect sound track for my first video edit.
I hope you enjoy it, and I hope it inspires you to make the trek to Casa Werma! All comments are more than appreciated.