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Lions Roar : Nov 2007
SHAMBHALA SUN NOVEMBER 2007 98 get stronger than our emotional reactivity. If we take those opportunities for healing, the momentum of the intelligence will gradually start to outweigh the momen- tum of the reactivity. In my experience, the emotional reactiv- ity does not stop. We’re not talking about getting rid of the experience of getting hooked. We’re talking about when you get hooked, what do you do next? There’s a choice. The Buddha teaches us that we are always at a crossroads, moment by moment. We have the intelligence to make a choice, so let’s educate ourselves about what the implications of our choices are. Let’s break it down. We could choose to open the wound further, creating more suffering for ourselves and others, or we could choose to heal the wound. The question we usually ask ourselves at this crossroads is, What will soothe me in this moment? The habitual response is that what will soothe me is to get what I want, to have my needs met, to get even, to straighten this all out so I come out with what I need. But we have seen what this choice leads to. We need to cultivate that other choice. The choice I have been talking about doesn’t preclude resolving conflicts where parties have been in the wrong. If someone breaks a contract with you, for example, that all have entered into consciously and in good faith, I’m not saying you wouldn’t address that breach. Leaving it unad- dressed would not be soothing the waters. The precedent would be set, and the irrita- tion would just grow and grow. So there are things that definitely have to be addressed, which is where non-violent communica- tion comes in. You don’t just bite the hook. You don’t just fly off the handle. You some- how interrupt the momentum. There is something you can do before you speak and act. Sometimes that be- fore might have to take a long time. I’ve given the advice many times to students, advice I use myself, that if you’re really outraged, type out the e-mail or write the letter, then don’t send it. Fold it up, put it in a certain place, then look at it a day or two later. Chances are you won’t send that letter. Nobody ever sends that letter. You New York Insight Meditation Center Visit us at www.nyimc.org New York Insight is an urban center for the practice of insight meditation, offering evening talks and sittings, workshops, courses, and daylong retreats for the integration of meditation teachings in daily life. A Peaceful Refuge in the Heart of New York City Visiting teachers include: Joseph Goldstein Sharon Salzberg Tara Brach Ajahn Sucitto Thanissaro Bhikkhu Stephen Batchelor Bhante Gunaratana Tsoknyi Rinpoche All are welcome to begin or deepen meditation practice based on the liberation teachings of the Buddha. NOV 78-103.indd 98 NOV 78-103.indd 98 8/29/07 2:24:14 PM 8/29/07 2:24:14 PM