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Lions Roar : September 2013
I simply wrote what had happened the day before, and its significance seemed to stream through without my having to go searching. A certain loneliness that had haunted me for years, I noticed, had vanished. I was aware that the lotus-eaters were natives of Greece, their story conveying the lure of these exquisite islands. Still, all that last week I fed myself on the native honey. Who cared if I developed a craving for it and couldn’t obtain it once home? “Today, today,” sang the cicadas, and I sang it too. Here was the very honey praised by Herodotus, its flavor due to the wild thyme that grows on the mountaintops. I was tasting what he’d tasted! It had a sequence of flavors: first rum, then blazing sweetness, then an herbal note. And the jar glowed like a lantern as I wrote, for I’d opened the shutters at last. “All exotic places are alike,” said the man who ran the local gym. Perhaps they convey to the visitor the secret message that he or she most wants to hear. Mine had to do with discovering that I was part of life itself. I’d shut the door against that knowledge years earlier. No wonder I was writing a book about my parents. I wanted to have them forever. But now I saw with my own eyes that things really grew, and so, it followed, they must perish. This too was okay, although I’d shut my door years earlier precisely so I would never discover this. The value of life is life, I suddenly felt. Darkness falls fast, after all. I recalled the enormous eyes of the icons in the cave, gazing outward, waiting to rendezvous with the traveler who set foot from the glare of day into the shadowy dark. I see those eyes even now, gazing and gazing at the beauty before them: the growing leaves at the mouth of the cave, the little bat, wheeling, the solitary traveler who, tired, worrying about the failing light, finally steps into the sacred darkness and finds himself or herself met by a compassion- ate, intimate gaze, as if nature itself were saying at every point, Don’t worry, you are not alone, I am one with you, you are part of the infinite, there is hope for you yet. ♦ SHAMBHALA SUN SEPTEMBER 2013 72