January 2011's editorial, by Shambhala Sun publisher James Gimian.
"Ending and beginning again, like the sun and the moon." This line from Sun Tzu’s Art of War is
a commentary on how opportunities for extraordinary action present
themselves in the ever-changing world. It also describes the exciting
times at the Shambhala Sun these past months. Let me explain.
Recently I attended three events that the Shambhala Sun
sponsored and created special publications for. These three very
different events occurred over a period of ten days and were attended in
total by nearly 15,000 people eager to hear about mindfulness,
awareness, and compassion.
first was Jon Kabat-Zinn’s Lynn Lecture at UCLA (1,500 attendees), a
talk on mindfulness and integrative medicine for the Susan G. Komen for
the Cure Foundation. The Komen Foundation’s leadership in bringing
integrative medicine into their campaign against breast cancer
highlights the growing acceptance of mindfulness in mainstream society,
and we are honored to support their important work.
a few days later I was on the Stanford University campus, where the
Dalai Lama and Karen Armstrong were discussing “Compassion, Science, and
Society” at a meeting (7,500 attendees) convened by our friends at
Stanford’s Center for Compassion Altruism Research and Education
(CCARE). It was amazing for me to see the lecture halls of my college
years filled with entrepreneurs, students, academics, and all sorts of
regular people confirming the importance of compassion to our society’s
right after the last hugs of congratulation ended the CCARE gathering, I
drove across town to hear Ani Pema Chödrön teaching at the Smile at Fear
retreat (3,000 in person and another 2,500 via live streaming). The
experience of meditating in silence with 3,000 people over three days in
an old auto assembly plant overlooking San Francisco Bay was powerful
the conclusion of each of these events, my first question was: How is
it that these large halls are now being packed with people learning
about meditation practice? In this issue, Norman Fisher’s book review
points out one important factor: forty years ago Suzuki Roshi and
Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche taught us that Buddhism was not an “exotic
wisdom from the East.” It is about the simple practice of meditation
that accesses our universal human qualities of mindfulness, awareness,
and compassion. From that insight it has became possible for hundreds of
thousands of people to discover the many real ways that meditation
practice can benefit their lives, as Barry Boyce’s interview with three
bright lights of integrative medicine shows us.
what struck me most at the “ending” of all these particular projects
we’d worked on for months was that we’re really at the beginning of a
much larger project. People attending these events, and many more in
every corner of the land, are engaging in meditation and bringing it
into every facet of life. When you connect the dots, it’s clear that
this is taking the shape of a very large movement, and it’s on the verge
of reaching critical mass.
light of this emerging movement, and in order to support all those who
take part in it, we see the opportunity to take extraordinary action.
First, we are pleased to present you with Mindful: Living With Awareness and Compassion, the free forty-page magazine bound into this issue of the Shambhala Sun. This special publication celebrates secular mindfulness and emphasizes practical ways you can integrate it into your life.
Mindful also introduces you to the new website Mindful.org,
which will serve the emerging mindfulness community on a daily basis.
We’ll do our best to learn about, report on, and connect the many people
doing amazing things that have meditation and mindfulness as their
goal is to help the emerging mindfulness community connect and grow
strong. That will increase our collective ability to bring the values of
mindfulness—things like basic healthiness, kindness, and
compassion—into the institutions and experiences of our everyday world.
How could that be bad?
movement has a momentum all its own, and we’ll do our best to keep up.
We have a commitment to serve this community, so let’s see what happens
next. For now, the sun is coming up again, and it’s another beginning.
From the January 2011 issue of the Shambhala Sun.
RELATED ONLINE EXCLUSIVE:
The Shambhala Sun presents a new website focusing on the benefits of mindfulness in every aspect of our lives.