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Mindful : December 2017
At some point, you may look up and notice you’ve been practicing med- itation for quite a while, even years or decades. Maybe your early, wildly exuberant self might have thought that after decades of meditating, you would be, as Will Kabat-Zinn says, “this version of myself where I’m mindful all the time, I speak skillfully to people. I feel happy....” As this kind of major self-improve- ment mentality gradually falls away, a shift can take place, Caverly Morgan says, from bringing “mindfulness practice into your life to bringing your life into mindfulness practice.” When life and mindfulness are not seen as so separate, it’s as if we are looking off into the distance to a long and winding road that goes up and down and sideways off into the horizon. Or to put it another way, that slackline we’re on doesn’t appear to be tied to another tree. It just keeps going. more and more middle THINK OF OTHERS If meditation has given you anything to appreciate—if you still have anxiety and all the other struggles, but your relationship to them is not so fixated—you almost automat- ically want to share that with others. You don’t necessarily need to go out and teach them meditation (for one thing, that’s a challenging job that carries a lot of responsi- bility), but the very fact that you may be more comfortable in your own skin can help make others more comfort- able in theirs, and that kind of benefit can be infectious. FIND WAYS TO BE HELPFUL You may be inclined to give people lots of advice, because you feel you see the predic- ament they’re in so clearly (you’ve been there yourself), but if you’re not careful, you skip over the part where you listen to them, get to know them and where they are. If you skip that, you tend to impose solutions, and that rarely works. If you can be a facilitator, a midwife, maybe you can help someone to discover their own way forward. They may teach you something as well. No one’s an exper t where the human mind is concerned: It’s too big a field of study. “Once you’ve tasted the fruit of some spaciousness and resilience in your own mind—so that your issues are not so acute and your reactivity and stress are lessened—and you find a groove of direct, personal peace, you’re in a better position to help other people.” JESSICA MOREY 50 mindful December 2017 meditation