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Mindful : August 2015
Mindful Editor-in-Chief Barry Boyce and ABC News’ Dan Harris have been talking for the past four years about what Dan calls “meditation’s massive PR problem,” which includes how we talk about it. The conversation continues here. Cut the woo-woo: How to talk about meditation... skillfully! Barry Boyce: For many people who started meditating in the ‘70s, meditation was countercultural and hard to bring up in mainstream contexts, with colleag ues at work, for example, or even with family members. When I did, I was earnest about the whole thing, spilling all over people with meaning and depth. I was all about the woo-woo: gooey, super-serious bafflegab. Now, with the new surge of interest in meditation, I see a lot of overselling, a peddler’s or carnival barker’s mentality. Finding a way to talk about this thing is not very easy. Dan Harris: In my experience, a lot of people who first brought meditation to the West com- municated the essence of the practice in a way that was gooey and emotive, or in other cases, as if they were parenthetically addressing you as “Grasshopper,” like the Kung Fu master on TV. That had its plusses and minuses. The biggest minus is that those communication styles are totally off-putting to many millions of skeptical people who might actually like meditation oth- erwise. The plus side is that it did reach a lot of people who started meditating and maintained those habits and are now able to teach others. → Dan Harris is the co-anchor of ABC News’ Nightline and the weekend edition of Good Morning America. He is author of 10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help that Actually Works—A True Story. Barry Boyce is editor-in-chief of Mindful magazine and mindful.org and editor of The Mindfulness Revolution. Gotopage58tosee 7 Tips for Talking about Meditation... Without Being Annoying * the mindful dialogue with barry boyce DAN HARRIS 54 mindful August 2015