I am a poet, writer, documentary filmmaker and teacher. This website, in its various iterations, is in part a document of my progress (so to speak) on the halting, confused, illuminated, faltering and constantly renewing path of art and meditation. Bill Scheffel
EVOKING DRALA, THE SPIRIT OF WHAT IS POSSIBLE
The vision of The Western Mountain Project is drawn from a single word: drala, a Tibetan word which means “beyond aggression.” Drala is the potential to communicate deeply (or one could say "sacredly") with life and can occur simply in the way we crack an egg, open a car door or think about a dream. Drala is also about courage; those who speak and walk their truth attract the dralas. We have a primordial connection - indeed a right – to the dralas, which are variously called the invisible world, ancestors, spirit or spirit guides, gods or God. We invoke the dralas when we take responsibility for the individual and collective challenges we face (huge ones!): how to protect or restore our environment, how to cooperate, how to wake up. Read more on drala...
To say that we have lost connection to the "drala princile" is an understatement indeed. We have treated our environment as something to use or consume rather than something to treasure and be in awe of to such a degree that our oceans (75% of the plant's surface!) are beginning to "de-evolve": primitive sources of life, toxic algaes and virulent jellyfish, are replacing such exquisite and evolutionarily "developed" forms of life as dolphins and whales.
My teacher, Chögyam Trungpa, had a vision of “The Kingdom of Shambhala,” a way of life on this planet that could be spiritually and culturally inclusive; that would respect the life of each individual’s basic goodness and innate “awake” potential. This way of life would abandon consumerism but not the technologies we have developed. Instead, an appreciation of simplicity and the beautiful elements of our world – fire, water, trees, mountains – could be creatively and arduously etched from the excess and wreckage of our age. As he would often say, "Good luck, Sir!"
This website is a document in search of that vision. Drala is a universal principle and the dralas "themselves" go by many names. The Western Mountain Project seeks to "invoke" the drala principle, to contribute to a way of life that is environmentally sane, spiritually and culturally inclusive and respects and supports the life of each individual’s basic goodness or innate “awake” potential - a project that is sustained by kindness, necessary doses of irony and an occasional glass of good wine. A new article and/or video, exploring one or more of these themes, will be posted here each week.
Unless otherwise stated, all photographs on this website by Bill Scheffel.