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
40 mindful August 2014 media A few minutes in, something clicks. There’s no string music, no white light. It’s more like, after days of trying to tune into a specific radio frequency, I finally find the right setting. I just start letting my focus fall on whatever is the most prominent thing in my field of consciousness. Neck pain. Knee pain. Airplane overhead. Birdsong. Sizzle of rustling leaves. Breeze on my forearm. I’m really enjoying putting cashews and raisins in my oatmeal at breakfast. Neck. Knee. Neck. Neck. Knee, knee, knee. Hunger pang. Neck. Knee. Hands numb. Bird. Knee. Bird, bird, bird. I hear a loud rumble approaching. It’s getting closer. Now it’s super loud, like the fleet of choppers coming over the horizon in that scene from Apoca- lypse Now. Now it’s right in front of me. I open my eyes. There’s a hummingbird hovering just a few feet away. No shit. The next sitting is even more exhilarating. I’m back in the meditation hall now, and I’m really doing it. Whatever comes up in my mind, it feels like I’m right there with it. At times, I still find myself look- ing forward to the session ending. But when those thoughts come up, I just note them and move on. It’s like I’d spent the past five days being dragged by my head behind a motorboat and now, all of a sudden, I’m up on water skis. This is a n experience of my own mind I’ve never had before—a f ront-row seat to watch the machinery of consciousness. It’s thrilling, but it also produces some very practical insights. I get a real sense of how a few slippery little thoughts I might have in, say, the morning before I go to work—maybe after a quarrel with Bianca, a story I read in the paper, or an imagined dia- logue with my boss—ca n weasel their way into the stream of my mind and pool in unseen eddies, from which they hector and haunt me throughout the day. Thoughts calcify into opinions, little seeds of discontent blossom into bad moods, unnoticed back pain makes me inexplicably irritable with anyone who happens to cross my path. I’m remembering that time when my friend Kaiama stumped me by asking how anyone can be in the present moment when it’s always slipping away. It’s so obvious to me now: the slipping away is the whole point. Once you’ve achieved choiceless aware- ness, you see so clearly how fleeting everything is. Impermanence is no longer theoretical. Tempus fugit isn’t just something you inscribe in books and clocks. And that, I realize, is what this retreat is desig ned to do. Having been dragged kicking and screaming into the present, I’m finally awake enough to see what I could never see in my regula r life. Appa rently there’s no other way to get here than to engage in the tedious work of watching your breath for days. In a way, it makes sense. How do you learn a sport? You do drills. A language? Conjugate endless verbs. A musical instrument? Scales. All the misery of repetition, the horror of sitting here in this hall with these zombies suddenly seems totally worth it. I now know one thing for sure: there’s much more for me to do. Whether or not 100% happy is achievable, I can definitely be more than 10% happier—and I’m excited to try. I often think about a quote from a writer I admire named Jeff Warren, who called meditation “the next frontier of human exploration.” Mindfulness, happiness, and not being a jerk are skills I can hone the rest of my life—every day, every moment, until senility or death. And the payoff is less reactivity, less rumination, and—who knows? I have willingness a nd curiosity. I have confidence and trust. I guess another word I could use is...faith. ● It’s like I’d spent the past five days being dragged by my head behind a motorboat and now, all of a sudden, I’m up on water skis. Watch Dan Harris’ interview with MindfulDirect, Mindful’s new video project, at mindful.org/ danharris From 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, by Dan Harris. Reprinted cour tesy of HarperCollinsPublishers.