Thinking about running for Boulder City Council this Fall, I ran across this quote by Chogyam Trungpa.

Via Waylon Lewis
on Feb 10, 2009
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I’m a political nerd.

I’ve watched every episode of West Wing (twice, some three times). I love politics, I love the notion of jumping into the mud and wrestling for a better, cleaner society.

And so, at the age of 34, I’m contemplating a run for City Council (one which I briefly contemplated two years ago, and talked over in great deal with Mr. New Era Steve Fenberg and Boulder’s Mayor at the time, Mark Ruzzin).

Rather spontaneously, starting with my attendance five days ago at a goodbye party for our fine mayor, Shaun McGrath, (who just got hired away by President Obama) I’ve talked with three of the Boulder City Council members (and a few of their loved ones) and about 10 of the 50 men and women whose opinion I need before I proceed: Mike Huttner, Will Shafroth, childhood buddy Michael Sage (who loved it, said it wasn’t a surprise, then asked if “I had anything to hide”), my mentor Jeff Waltcher (who laughed, mostly), John Tayer, my brau Ryan Van Duzer. I have yet to talk over with now-Congressman Jared Polis, political guru Elizabeth Patterson, childhood buddy and political powerhouse Sol Halpern, mentor Bob Morehouse or best friend Dave Rogers (who will be against my running). I’m terrified of stepping in with both feet, and plan to be for some time: I’m in no rush to make a wrong decision, and once I’m in or out that’s it. 

 The response so far (including tonight, when I talked over with Richard Foy and Peggy Markel at the soft opening of Dave Query’s latest restaurant) has been discouragingly heartening. Most have not only given my run a (genuinely surprising, to me) thumbs up, based on their perception of my ‘youth,’ public energy, name recognition and Boulder values—but they’ve given two thumbs up, offering to help fundraise, throw a party or sit on an advisory committee.

Only one has cautioned that such a run would be stupid (and he’s right, of course—who would want to work themselves to death, make no money doing so and put themselves on the chopping block of criticism when you could go for hikes, travel, have fun, go out, whatever it is that normal people do instead). Who declared me crazy? Why, the utterly sane Dave Query (whose new, green Happy Noodle House is the new Upstairs at The Kitchen—elegant + fun = a rare combination).

“So, Dave,” I told him. “I’m thinking of running for City Council.” 

“I heard,” he shook his head. He’d seen my seed-planing mention in 5280. “You gotta be crazy, Waylon. Spending years sitting in a flourescent-lit room arguing about zoning?!” [I ad lib, but it was something along those lines]

And so, contemplating such folly, I arrived home in the snow to my pup, Redford, checked my email, and ran across this quote:

Chogyam Trungpa’s Ocean of Dharma.


One characteristic of a dharmic person, someone who practices meditation and the teachings of the Buddha, is to prevent too many activities, or you could say, reduce too many activities. According to tradition, that actually boils down to cutting nonfunctional talking, cutting the baby-sitter mentality, the entertainment mentality. You can get yourself into all kinds of projects, all kinds of engagements. You can become chummy with the world so that you don’t have to hold your discipline or your mindfulness properly. ….If you don’t like tea, you can have coffee. If you don’t like coffee, you could switch to Coca-Cola. If you don’t like Coca-Cola, you can drink scotch or vodka. You involve yourself in constant, constant activity. Sometimes you don’t even know what you are doing; you just come up with the idea that you need to be occupied with something, but you can’t put your finger on anything:” Do I need sex or do I need money or do I need clothes? What do I need?”….You could think about anything; the possibilities are infinite. Getting chummy with the situation involves lots of activity. According to the basic principles of Buddhism, you have to cut that down. When you become too chummy with your world, too familiar with your world, it becomes endless.



About Waylon Lewis

Waylon Lewis, founder of elephant magazine, now & host of Walk the Talk Show with Waylon Lewis, is a 1st generation American Buddhist “Dharma Brat." Voted #1 in U.S. on twitter for #green two years running, Changemaker & Eco Ambassador by Treehugger, Green Hero by Discovery’s Planet Green, Best (!) Shameless Self-Promoter at Westword's Web Awards, Prominent Buddhist by Shambhala Sun, & 100 Most Influential People in Health & Fitness 2011 by "Greatist", Waylon is a mediocre climber, lazy yogi, 365-day bicycle commuter & best friend to Redford (his rescue hound). His aim: to bring the good news re: "the mindful life" beyond the choir & to all those who didn't know they gave a care. | His first book, Things I would like to do with You, is now available.


12 Responses to “Thinking about running for Boulder City Council this Fall, I ran across this quote by Chogyam Trungpa.”

  1. ndsmith says:

    Is that last sentence a complete sentence? What was it you found out? Are you going to run or not?

  2. Evan Ravitz says:

    Now I understand why you won’t print my articles, even one you said you “loved.” You’re “maintaining political viability” (to quote Bill Clinton) and I’m controversial

  3. From a pal: “Hey buddy,
    I still think you should run! With your love of Boulder, love of helping the world at large and the way you involve EVERYONE in what you do….you would be great. And I would vote for you a thousand times. You represent the common person and that’s what we need in Boulder, someone who can identify with all the freaks 🙂 and all the richies and everyone in between.
    Have a great day and good luck with everything!”

    Waylon Hart Lewis
    Today at 1:30pm
    Thanks, brau. I may or may not. It’s a lot of time taken away from ‘enjoying life,’ which I haven’t done enough of over last 7 years building [elephant magazine, now] up, I wanna travel and make the talk show happen…that said, service always involves sacrifice, and serving on CC is something I’d like to do, and think I’d be good at.

  4. Evan, Evan, I think you enjoy starting trouble.

    I don’t remember ever not wanting to print something of yours other than the bike thing, that I did love. We didn’t have room in the mag, normally our lead time was six months. If you’d ever like to write something for, we’d be honored. I don’t like to publish super-agro political pieces, not that you would, but anything other than that, please!

    Evan Ravitz at 12:26pm February 11
    It’s more trying to save you from the trouble and hypocrisy of being on Council. You told me you would publish the bike thing on the website, and maybe in print. You never answered my offer to write about my 20 year work explained at -even though Jared Polis is going to introduce a similar bill in Congress this year.

    Waylon Hart Lewis at 12:33pm February 11
    Honestly, would be psyched for you to write on one or both, as long as its constructive. And you should run, man, you know far more about issues than I!

    Evan Ravitz at 12:43pm February 11
    OK, here’s one I wrote about transportation for’s little contest:

    I did run in 1997, but dropped out of the race, partly because of the slander about me that started with this: and has or will filter down in an adult’s game of “telephone” to you.

    I won’t dishonor myself by running for office the way politics are now. I’ve spent 20 years promoting government BY the people, and have had my work lied about by ALL my reps -until Jared Polis, who is supportive.

    Evan Ravitz at 12:48pm February 11
    You can see how Mark Udall disgraced himself lying about our project, when his own brothers have endorsed it, at

  5. dee haiche says:

    Yay, what would I do without your posts. Cool, hip & edgy creates momentum & action. As much as it’s v noble & ernest, it just doesn’t make u accessible. However if u do change it mind & run, I can’t promise that I’ll b following ur worthy causes as ardently, not becos ur values have changed. It just doesn’t come across as sexy or interesting to post & follow Boulder’s city councillor.

  6. ndsmith says:

    Loving the exchange with Evan Ravitz. This is interesting. I’m also totally interested in this quote about “activity.” I suspect that Waylon means this to be ambiguous in a meaningful way. I’ve just finished teaching two classes on Aristotle’s idea of happiness, which he says is a kind of “activity” and this thing has got me intrigued.

    What does it mean to be “active”? Can we have a sense of activity that isn’t synonymous with “busy-ness” or “diversion.” Can contemplation, or mindfulness (not knowing exactly what that means) be a kind of activity? Is focused attention, and integration of mind and body, an activity? Can a political life also be a contemplative life? Do you have to forgo the one to achieve the other? Can you find peace and mindfulness in the swirling midst of worldly needs, wants, motives, and pressures? Is there any other place to find it?

  7. Joana Smith says:

    politics needs a new image.

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