using the arrow buttons.
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?
Lions Roar : September 2015
have generally looked to me to be people who let their ideas come between them and life in all its irreducible complexity and beauty. I lean forward when I encounter someone who seems to have sat so still that he’s watched clouds come and go, gather and pass, and seen what appears to be unchanging even as our thoughts are in permanent motion. When the Dalai Lama or Bishop Tutu speak, I feel their opinions are convictions drawn from a deep well that knows how often they might be wrong and how temporary are most of our assurances. Going through the remarkable book of interviews Leonard Cohen on Leonard Cohen, I was again and again struck by the riddled wisdom of the singer-poet’s comments. Many of them were about how much he didn’t know, how much we all are rightly upended by surprise and real life, and how every comment he’s delivered is one he’d gladly undeliver. “I can dredge up an opinion,” Cohen once told a friend of mine, “but I’m not so interested in my opinions. My opin- ions are like slogans. That’s why I write, because with writing you can go beyond your opinions. It’s a different experi- ence of one’s reality, is in fact a critique of the whole mechanism of opinion. Experiences produce an opinion, but it’s a very shallow recognition of the whole enterprise.” Opinion is a reduction, I think Cohen means, of truths into rights and wrongs, and of something mysterious, far beyond our reckoning, into ABCs or QEDs. Show me the questions that haunt and unsettle you, and I’ll sit up and move toward you. Accept that much of experi- ence is confounding, and that claiming to explain it may take us further from some truth, and I’ll say, “Amen.” Point out that someone feels this way about abortion, capital punishment, or the West Bank, and I’ll admit I have my own preferences and prejudices, but that there are wider, more spacious places, in love or doubt, where we are more usefully humbled. I’ve written my share of op-eds over the years—here I go again—but the ones I trust most contain no conclu- sions, certainties, or so-called opinions. I’ve walked around an issue and offered a position, but that position seems no more substantial or convincing than a non-position, or your position, or the position I may take tomorrow. For me at least, happiness, peace, and truth lie in a different dimension of experience from opinion, as silence does from Portuguese. So when this magazine, which I have loved and savored for decades, introduced an “Opinion” page, I knew it could serve a purpose, as everything can. We all have our opinions on world poverty, the 2016 elections, the envi- ronment. We should have them and we should act on them. But assuming they’re right or that others need to hear them? Imagining they’re anything more than the passing fancies of an unreliable narrator? I’m not convinced. ♦ DON’T ALWAYS TRUST YOUR PERCEPTIONS Breathing in, I see myself as still water. Breathing out, I reflect things as they are. Near the mountain, there is a lake with clear, still water reflecting the mountain and the sky with pristine clarity. You can do the same. If you are calm and still enough, you can reflect the mountain, the blue sky, and the moon exactly as they are. You reflect whatever you see exactly as it is, without distorting anything. Have you ever seen yourself in a mirror that distorts the image? Your face is long, your eyes are huge, and your legs are really short. Don’t be like that mirror. It is better to be like the still water on the mountain lake. We often do not reflect things clearly, and we suffer because of our wrong perceptions. Suppose you are walking in the twilight and see a snake. You scream and run into the house to get your friends, and all of you run outside with a flashlight. But when you shine your light on the snake, you discover that it isn’t a snake at all, just a piece of rope. This is a distorted perception. When we see things or listen to other people, we often don’t see clearly or really listen. We see and hear our projections and our prejudices. We are not clear enough, and we have a wrong perception. Even if our friend is giving us a compliment, we may argue with him because we distort what he says. If we are not calm, if we only listen to our hopes or our anger, we will not be able to receive the truth that is trying to reflect itself on our lake. We need to make our water still if we want to receive reality as it is. If you feel agitated, don’t do or say anything. Just breathe in and out until you are calm enough. Then ask your friend to repeat what he has said. This will avoid a lot of damage. Stillness is the foundation of understanding and insight. Stillness is strength. —Thich Nhat Hanh From Touching Peace: Practicing the Art of Mindful Living, reprinted with permission of Parallax Press. FOXPHOTOS/VALUELINE/THINKSTOCK SHAMBHALA SUN SEPTEMBER 2015 14 CULTURE • LIFE • PRACTICE