by clicking the "Next" arrow.
by clicking on the page.
the page around when zoomed in by dragging it.
the zoom using the slider when zoomed-in.
by clicking on the zoomed-in page.
by entering text in the search field, and select "This Issue" or "All Issues"
by clicking on thumbnails to select pages, and then press the print button.
displays sections with thumbnails and descriptions.
displays a slider of thumbnails. Click on a page to jump.
allows you to browse the full archive.
about your subscription?
Mindful : August 2014
38 mindful August 2014 slowly, with heads down. I realize that these people are really taking seriously the injunction to be mind- ful at all times. As I walk amid the silent herd through the predawn darkness, I resolve to go balls-out on this retreat. If I’m going to do this thing, I’m going to do it right, damn it. So, when I enter the hall, instead of going to the chair I’d picked out the night before, I wade into the archipelago of mats. I put two cushions on top of each other a nd straddle them, imitating the sitting style of some of the more experienced meditators. Almost immediately, I realize that sitting on cushions is a terrible idea. I am assailed by back and neck pain. The circulation to my feet feels like it’s dangerously choked off. I try to focus on my breath- ing, but I can’t keep up a volley of more than one or two breaths. In. Out. In. Holy crap, I think my feet are going to snap off at the ankle. Come on, dude. In. It feels like a dinosaur has my rib cage in its mouth. Out. I’m hung ry. It’s really quiet in here. I wonder if anyone else in here is freaking out right now. After a truly horrible hour, I hear a gentle ringing sound, kind of like a gong. The teacher has just tapped on what looks like a metal bowl, but appa r- ently is a bell. Everyone gets up and shuffles—mindfully— down the hill towa rd the dining hall. I follow along in a daze, like I’ve just had the bejeezus kicked out of me. A line forms outside the building. Oh, right. We’re not allowed to go in until one of the chefs comes out and rings a bell. There’s something a little pathetic about this. I look a round. While the word yogi sounds goofy—like Yogi Berra or Yogi Bear—these people all seem so grim. Turns out, mindfulness isn’t such a cute look. Everyone is in his or her own world, trying very hard to stay in the moment. The effort of concentration produces facial expressions that range from blank to defecatory. The instruction sheets gently advise us not to make eye contact with our fellow retreatants, so as to not interrupt one another’s meditative concentration. Which makes this the only place on earth where the truly compassionate response to a sneeze is to ignore it completely. The outfits aren’t helping this little zombie jam- boree. Aesthetically, ma ny of these people seem to be cultivating a n agg ressive plainness—a nd in some cases, a deliberate oddness. Their clothes are often When Peter Jennings gave lifelong skeptic Dan Harris the religion beat in 2001, he was puzzled. But it gave him a chance to do some searching. Above: Deepak Chopra befuddles him with phrases like “ transformational vortex to the infinite.” Middle: Victoria Gallagher, of attractgoodluck.com, tries to help him find a “new Dan” through hypnosis—with no success. Bottom: The Dalai Lama intrigues him with the notion of compassion as the best way to benefit oneself. PHOTOGRAPHSCOURTESYOFDANHARRIS/ABCNEWS