It was somewhere midway through Shambhala Warrior Assembly, an intense ten day retreat I attended in the summer of 2009. We had just been taught a type of calligraphy practice particular to this lineage. We were in the meditation hall, which was a huge canvas tent (at least as big as my entire house) set on some of the most beautiful land at Shambhala Mountain Center. We were spending time practicing on our own, going through the process over and over, our tongues and fingers smudged black with ink. It was mostly silent except for the sound of the brushes and the crackle of the paper. Like the best moments of practice, I felt both intensely focused and completely relaxed. I paused for a moment and looked up, looked around at the others practicing with me, noticed how the light of the afternoon had turned the inside of the tent golden. I felt more present than I could remember having ever felt — “To remain present, we notice and let go almost simultaneously.” In that moment, I felt luminous.