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Lions Roar : March 2019
and an immigrant.’ And he replied, ‘Oh, but you’re a good one.’ I’m like, ‘No, there’s no such thing. This is it.’ Then I took down my profile. I was done.” Another reason Alicia decided to give dating another try was that she now had our group of friends to support her: “Talking to all of you about it takes the taboo and shame out of it. Plus we usu- ally only hear about the disastrous or dream-come- true experiences. We need to hear about in-between experiences.” For the initial stage of online dating, our mentors had this advice to offer Alicia. “You’re going to need the three jewels handy,” advises Melvin Escobar. “Remembering our buddha- nature and the buddhanature of others, along with the teachings and the community, is essential for online dating. Our friends often know us differently than we know ourselves. It’s an important practice to enlist friends and community for support.” Escobar also warns that “no matter how perfect your profile is, you will not be satisfied. Accord- ing to the teaching of no-self, the self is really an interdependent product of interlocking causes and conditions that exist in a complicated web. It is unskillful to be attached to fixed identities, and yet dating sites run on making matches between implicitly fixed aspects of our identities.” As a person of color himself, Escobar offers this insight to Alicia: “A significant part of this society’s karma is racism and the other ‘isms.’ As a woman of color dating online, you will inevitably encounter this source of dukkha, suffering, in its many forms, including rejection and exotification. Some say that no-self is the ultimate remedy for the ‘isms,’ but to use the dharma in this way can be an expression of spiritual bypass.” Yael Shy offers this advice: “Dating is an athletic event of the heart. Athletes stretch before they start playing. Dating requires the same amount of warm-up. First, assess the situ- ation. Alicia took the temperature of her own heart and checked to see what her intentions were before beginning to date. Check in with yourself—how are you feeling? What emotions are present? Are you excited, full of desire, openhearted, exhausted, depleted, angry? Knowing where you are helps you become aware of what you are bringing into your interactions with others. “Second, take a moment to name your desire. What do you want from online dating? Not ‘What does the magical, spiritual me who has no needs and no attachments want?’ What does the real-life me want? To be seen? To be wholeheartedly accepted? To find a wife/husband? To have fun? To have good sex? No judgements on what the desire is, just try and name it, visualize it, and accept it for yourself. “Third, set an intention. It can be simple and short, but it should help to guide you. When I was online dating, I would set my intention (whenever I remembered) to be truly honest, to show up as my full self, to remember my own lovability, and to trust my gut.” IT WAS NOW TIME TO SWIPE for matches—left for “no” and right for “yes.” We friends oohed at some profiles, and to make the others laugh I read some aloud as if we were at a party. But Alicia didn’t laugh, and as she swiped, she narrated her thoughts. “How can you decide if this is someone you’re into, based on a picture?” she asked. “There might be peo- ple who aren’t photogenic who have amazing person- alities and they get rejected, or people who capitalize on their good looks and don’t have good intentions. These are people with hearts, who are just as lost as me.” Then Alicia thought for a minute. “I mean, there could be some serial kill- ers in there too.” Alicia found she could only swipe for a few minutes at a time. “I find the act of swip- ing left on another human being disturbing and sad. I keep thinking, ‘I hope you find love. I hope you find whatever you’re looking for.’ It’s all so artificial and it both heightens your sense of ego and gives you anxiety that maybe this match could be your soulmate.” Her perspective made the rest of us stop laughing too. match 64% craig_lister 28 • Redding, CA Message... Send Today - 3:47am Telme 8:18 PM Conversation 79% I hope... I have a girlfriend but she’s down for a 3er. Swiping ISTOCK.COM/SENSORSPOT LION’S ROAR | MARCH 2019 67