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 2019
ABOUT THE AUTHOR Barry Yeoman is an award-winning journalist who specializes in narratives about complex social issues. He has written for The Washington Post, National Wildlife, The Nation, and Talking Points Memo, among many others. T he bell rings, and the 21 cadets in Major Matt Jar- man’s leadership class at Virginia Military Institute stand at attention as their highest-ranking classmate salutes the professor. Though the weather out- side is mild, the cadets are dressed in their winter uniforms. Black neckties are tied in Windsor knots and tucked between the second and third buttons of their black long-sleeved shirts. Woolen garrison hats sit on the class- room tables next to open laptops. “Today we’re going to do a little introduction to meditation,” says Jarman, an assistant professor of psychology. This is not what future military officers usually hear, so he cautiously probes their receptiveness. “ When you hear mindfulness medita- tion, what do you think?” The cadets call out free-association words: purposeful, tranquility, recali- brating. One attempts a longer defini- tion. “It’s almost like slow motion,” he says. “ You know the next move you’ve got to make. You have to do it quickly. But in your mind, you slow everything around you, so that you can make that decision as efficiently as possible.” “ How often are you guys distracted or daydreaming?” Jarman asks. “ How often are you stressed?” All the time, the class responds in various forms. Days are regimented at VMI, a state-supported college that feeds into all five US armed forces. Rules govern everything from how cadets arrange their toiletries to what they wear to sleep. Jarman explains that an emerging body of research suggests that mind- fulness practices might help troops cope with the rigors of military life, particularly as they prepare for com- bat. Studies with Army soldiers and Marines have found that mindfulness strengthens concentration, short-term memory, and emotional regulation— essential skills under fire. “ Pre-deployment training is inten- tionally stressful and demanding, right?” Jarman tells his students. “If you look at cognitive function of those service members at the end of that, it’s depleted, understandably.” Compro- mised thinking causes troubles on the battlefield. “If you’re making a life-or- death decision, you want to be able to hold more things in mind—to consider more options, more avenues—before making a decision. When you’re depleted, it’s literally more difficult to do that.” There are practices that can help maintain mental capacity under “IF YOU’RE MAKING A LIFE-OR-DEATH DECISION, YOU WANT TO BE ABLE TO HOLD MORE THINGS IN MIND—TO CONSIDER MORE OPTIONS, MORE AVENUES—BEFORE MAKING A DECISION.” Major Matt Jarman, assistant professor of psychology at Virginia Military Institute 50 mindful August 2019 neuroscience