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Mindful : February 2016
with meditation is having it become a systematic ongoing activity,” says Steve Hickman, a clinical psychologist and Founder and Executive Direc- tor of the University of California San Diego Center for Mindfulness. If you can just keep sitting, even if you miss a day here and there, you are on the right track. Don’t shoot for perfection, says Diana Win- ston, Director of Mindfulness Education at the Mindful Awareness Research Center, UCLA, and co-author of Fully Present: The Science, Art, and Practice of Mindfulness. “It really is a train- ing process and we get better at it as we prac- tice,” she says. Begin with an easy goal, she adds. “Five-minute meditation is a good way to start. Everyone has five minutes a day to meditate.” Peg Bogle took up meditation 28 years ago, on her own, and has kept at it. No matter what. “I may not exercise, I may not wash my face, but I always meditate,” says Bogle, an educational therapist in Northern California. First she read books with simple instructions. “I just started,” she says. “My practice evolved to 15 minutes in the morning and 15 minutes at night and that’s how it’s stayed. “It never gets easy and it never gets perfect. I’ve had experiences that truly felt awakened and wonderful and I have had plenty of dry times, when I am totally distracted and watching the clock.” Along the way, she found a piece of advice from meditation teacher Jack Kornfield very use- ful, that when he experiences some resistance, he makes himself stay just five more minutes. “There are days I don’t want to sit down, but I have found over the years that if I just sit there, that moment of being present will come,” Bogle says. So she has persevered and says it has changed her life. “ When I sit it puts me in touch with where I am in that moment. We aren’t used to that. We are used to being busy. There’s nothing to it but sitting,” she says. “It’s like you tell your dog: Stay.” → All you need to meditate is a mind, body, and a little bit of oxygen. But what if you start feeling isolated? Too far away from other meditators? Find a group class online or start a regular meditation session with a friend or two on Skype, Zoom, or Google Hangout. February 2016 mindful 41