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Lions Roar : March 2010
SHAMBHALA SUN MArcH 2010 95 and LinkedIn. “I know they’re valuable for many people,” she says. “I’m just cer- tain I would not thrive with more con- tacts than I already have.” Mindfulness of speech also applies to words online. It’s so easy to fire off a testy reply or detonate a self-righteous blast in the comments section of a blog. After ex- changing more than 300,000 emails, I’ve learned to be thankful for the petulant messages I never sent, the bristling reac- tions I zapped into the void. When I feel hot anger quickening my fingers at the keys, I try to take a mindful breath (or ten), or even a walk around the block. If my response is so important, it will still seem so when I sit back down at my com- puter. not every reactive blip needs to be broadcast to the world. Strategic use of inspirational remind- ers can help. Some people install software that chimes at random intervals in the course of a day, prompting them to take a conscious breath. Thich nhat Hanh wrote a poem to recite silently before log- ging on. When I visited the Boorsteins at home in Sonoma County two years ago, I noticed a square of paper taped to the edge of Sylvia’s monitor with a quote from Cala, one of the first women to take vows in Buddha’s order: I, a nun, trained and self-composed, established mindful- ness and entered peace like an arrow. I recently asked Sylvia if she still relies on these dharmic Post-Its. “I have a laptop now, so there’s no space for them,” she replied. “But if there was, I would use a phrase that my friend Susan puts at the end of all her emails: Stay amazed.” Staying amazed and compassionate, even in the face of imminent death, is a worthy goal in any tradition. As the pain and therapeutic demands of Damian’s ill- ness increased, he still found time to com- fort another member of our online tribe whose father had been diagnosed with cancer. Overjoyed at being the father of a four-year-old girl, Damian wrote not long before he died, “I’m renewed every time I come home and see her running down the hallway shouting out ‘DAAADDY!’ I’m reborn every time I think of her. I am the luckiest guy in the world.” ♦