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Mindful : December 2018
“WHEN SOMEONE IS OPEN AND VUL- NERABLE ABOUT THE HUMANITY AND IMPER- FECTION AND WOUNDEDNESS IN THEMSELVES, THEN OTHERS IN THE GROUP WILL SENSE THAT A SAFE SPACE IS BEING CREATED.” sense of equal status, and lead to good relations. What prompted you to start the Heartfulness program at Stanford? When I was a substitute teacher in Cambridge public schools and later when I taught in medi- cal schools, I was told by students—and obser ved myself—that mindfulness in the classroom works. At Stanford, there was a per- ceived gap between stu- dent services, like counsel- ing, and academic classes. The personal and spiritual needs of the students weren’t being addressed and they were hungry for something like this. What is your daily practice? I practice first thing in the morning and later in the day for a little while. It’s a personal blend, starting with yoga and qigong, a series of movements coordinated with the breath, and then I sit for a while, observing thoughts and feelings and not getting attached to them. I also integrate into my daily ritual a reflection on mortality, the Bushido or samurai practice of bring- ing attention to death and dying as, paradoxically, a means of developing grati- tude for living another day. In these polarized times, what gives you hope? Connecting with people who are trying to make their lives, their relations with other people, and the world better, even if it may seem overwhelming or impossible at times. That continuing desire replen- ishes and renews me. ● December 2018 mindful 35