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Lions Roar : November 2008
SHAMBHALA SUN NOVEMBER 2008 47 Or perhaps you get on the path of love, and then you are looking for those highs within the ups and downs of life. You put great store in them. Occasionally you have a really good day, or even a peak experience, and there is this wonderful opening. You recognize that you and the other person are ab- solutely in tune, totally accepting of each other. You think to yourself, “OK, now I’ve got it. In the future I will do exactly this, and I’ll get these results again.” But of course, it doesn’t work, because the waves go up and down, up and down. Here’s the secret: get a surfboard. As the waves go up and down, the surfboard allows you to maintain your balance. When things are going well, you maintain your balance and don’t go whole hog into it. And when things are going badly, you can see that painful as it is, it’s interesting and even fascinating to observe. By surfing the waves and maintaining your balance, it starts to feel less like bouncing up and down all the time. Meditation practice, mindfulness, psychotherapy, clear ob- servation of your experience—all these will give you this ca- pacity to surf. Of course, everybody falls off the surfboard at some point, so you need one of those little ankle bracelets that keeps you and the surfboard together. Whether it’s psycho- therapy or meditation, you need to stay with it long enough to get the bracelet that connects you. If you don’t, then one day you will fall off hard and you will say, “I worked hard on that surfboard and it didn’t work, so screw it. I won’t work on one of those again.” That is the worst outcome. The things that could help you have been tossed away. When the shit hits the fan in your life—and it will—you will need your surfboard and the bracelet that ties you to it. You will need your training and you will need a bigger view of love, one that encompasses and accepts a broken heart. You will need something that reminds you of your vow to “take the training” to love. ♦ POLLY YOUNG-EISENDRATH, Ph.D., is a Jungian psychoanalyst and clinical associate professor of psychiatry at the University of Ver- mont. A longtime practitioner of Zen and Vipassana meditation, she is author of fourteen books, including her most recent, The Self-Esteem Trap: Raising Confident and Compassionate Kids in an Age of Self- Importance. NOV 40-47.indd 47 NOV 40-47.indd 47 9/1/08 12:19:41 PM 9/1/08 12:19:41 PM