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Lions Roar : May 2019
T HE BEATLES SANG “All You Need is Love.” But we who swim in circles in the wacky waters of online dating beg to differ. Besides love, we also need some wisdom to help us navigate the truths and false stories (about our- selves and others) that come to the surface as we search for authentic con- nection in this extremely artificial environment. To help Alicia get ready to meet “Mark” for their first face-to-face date following their initial online courtship, I asked our two Buddhist relationship experts for advice. Yael Shy, author of What Now? Meditation for Your Twenties and Beyond, offers her this advice on the four noble truths of dating. “First, there is suffering—a sense of life being unsatisfactory,” Shy says. “Second is the cause of that suffering, which is grasping at outcomes we can’t control, including other people’s affections, and forgetting our interconnection to all of life. “Fortunately, there’s the third noble truth: that suffering can come to an end when we remember our own true nature, which is love and connection. Finally, there is a path to rediscovering that love and connection, which is the fourth noble truth.” Buddhist teacher Melvin Escobar reminds Alicia that dating offers many opportun- ities to practice Buddhism’s eightfold path. “We start with wise speech,” he says. “Are you being truthful in your profile, clear about your intentions for dating, communicative when it’s not working out (as opposed to just ghosting), and considerate of the impact of your words? Next is wise intention—what are your intentions for dating? For wise action, ask yourself if your actions are causing harm to yourself or others. Are you misusing your sexual energy? Are you respecting your own and others’ boundaries? “Next is wise livelihood: Is the person you’re dating in a business that is an affront to your values? Wise view: Are you seeing things as they are? Wise effort: Are you practic- ing self-care during the dating process? Are you trying too hard or not taking healthy risks? Wise mindfulness: How absent-minded are you when you are swiping? Are you truly present on a date? Finally, wise concentration: What are you concentrating on? Wise concentration can lead to a more profound experience of things as they are.” ALICIA, WITH OUR COMMITTEE of friends cheering her on, met Mark for the first time at a local craft brewery. Their conversation never stopped flowing. “We had both lived in Asia, and that experience of being othered bonded us,” Alicia says. “We had the same sense of humor. I asked him why he was online and what he wanted. He said, ‘I just want someone to get me.’” However, Alicia’s brain was telling her other tales of how it was going. “For me, there was, at the time, no real indication that he was into me, and I wasn’t giving out any vibe that I was into him.” After perhaps one too many Tom Waits ales, Alicia decided they should get some pizza and go to a nearby park. “When we got there, the park was full of people. Two hours in, we look up and we’re the only two there.” Mark asked if he could give Alicia a hug. It turned into a ISTOCK.COM/FIZKES Meeting Your Match LION’S ROAR | MAY 2019 59