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Mindful : June 2019
INVISIBILIA Episode: The Fifth Vital Sign CBC’S SUNDAY EDITION Episode: Too Long, Didn’t Read: How Online Reading Is Hurting Our Brains PODCAST reviews The more attention you give something, goes the aphorism, the bigger that thing becomes. In this episode of NPR’s Invisibilia, host Alex Spiegel explores the power our attention wields in the realm of the body. It introduces us to Devyn, an American 16-year- old who finds inexplicable chronic pain taking over her life. The narrative also lights on a medical system—within an oppressively stressful, pain-inducing society—that’s grown obsessed with “killing” pain (as in, taking “pain killers”). Plus, a pocket of the Although “hur ting” may be a tad alarmist, research shows the digital revolution is literally changing our brain circuits. Tufts University professor Maryanne Wolf, author of Reader, Come Home: The Reading Brain In the Digital World, describes how reading has, for centuries, allowed us to engage in “deep reading, sophisticated processes like analogy and inference,” as well as “critical analysis and empathy.” But these skills developed while our most pervasive forms of media were printed books, newspapers, and magazines. medical community claims that we’re understanding and treating physical pain in all the least helpful ways. Trying so hard to get rid of every trace of pain, says rheumatologist Dr. David Sherr y, serves to amplify it rather than curing it: “There’s some suffering that people just need to live through.” Is pain, “ the fifth vital sign,” an enemy to be vanquished at all costs? Or is debilitating pain a matter of misplaced focus? It may be that our body knows the answers we need better than we do. We ought to be listening. Reading on our phones, we tend to merely skim—a habit that suits whizzing through emails or Twitter but hurts when we want (or need) to read, say, business reports, or Steinbeck. Reading on screens doesn’t encourage taking the “precious milliseconds” required for those deep-reading processes. Our brains quickly lose patience with it. For Wolf, we’ve reached “a moment of cognitive choice”: If we don’t practice reading slowly, deeply, with intention, the literary skills gained over countless generations will continue to fade. SHAMBHALA PUBLICATIONS Celebrating 50 Years of Independent Publishing Enlighten your inbox: shambhala.com/email 4720 Walnut St. | Boulder, CO 80301 shambhala.com FROM MINDFULNESS TO INSIGHT Meditations to Release Your Habitual Thinking and Activate Your Inherent Wisdom By Rob Nairn, Choden, and Heather Regan-Addis A step-by-step guide to using secular insight meditation to break free of habitual patterns and experience greater equanimity and compassion. 76 mindful June 2019 read, listen, stream