My life is not this steeply sloping hour in which you see me hurrying."
- Rainer Maria Rilke

("The Art of Conversation in the Digital Age" article included below)
An Invitation to Learn
Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction

Grand Tetons
Grand Tetons
Photo by Sandy Renna

Learn to live with greater vitality, health and well-being through Jon Kabat-Zinn's Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program. Presented by the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Center of New Jersey, the program offers powerful methods for reducing stress in your everyday life.


Diane Handlin, Ph.D. is the only instructor in New Jersey and one of the few in the world (not just trained) but actually Certified by Jon Kabat-Zinn's and Saki Santorelli's Center for Mindfulness at UMass Medical School. 


Everything is
waiting for you

Put down the weight of your aloneness and ease into the conversation...

All the birds and creatures of the world are unutterably
themselves. Everything is waiting for you.

Excerpt from
Everything is waiting for you.
David Whyte


Fall Song

I try to remember when time's measure
painfully chafes, for instance when autumn

flares out at the last, boisterous and like us longing to stay - how everything lives, shifting

from one bright vision to another, forever
in these momentary pastures.

Excerpt from
"Fall Song"
by Mary Oliver

Let yourself be silently drawn
by the strange pull of what you really love.
It will not lead you astray.

~ Rumi ~

 (Essential Rumi, versions by Coleman Barks)

Upcoming Events
Fall 2015 talk in Summit NJ
Nov. 18, 7:30 - 9:00 pm
Grand Summit Hotel
570 Springfield Ave, Summit NJ

Winter 2016 course in Summit NJ
begins Tuesday, January 19
 All are Welcome
Reservations are required.

 ~ Summer 2016 Course in Edison NJ ~ 

For more information or to reserve a place for course, please contact Dr. Diane Handlin at 732-549-9100 or 

For more information go to  

(Please note that MBSR is an educational course and not psychotherapy. If you suspect that you have medical or psychological issues, please pursue appropriate treatment.) 

Worthy of Note
Mindfulness and Education
October 8 at Newark Academy

60 Minutes interview of Jon Kabat-Zinn by Anderson Cooper, (13 min), CBS News, December 14, 2014 

Additional valuable interviews
from 60 Minutes Overtime


"A Necessary and Vital Moment",
Jon Kabat-Zinn's Science of Mindfulness.
Opening to Our Lives:
an interview with Krista Tippett

Jon Kabat-Zinn discusses Mindfulness in Education, January 26, 2006
Mindfulness in Education (Part 1)
Mindfulness in Education (Part 2)
Mindfulness in Education (Part 3)

More Videos with Jon Kabat-Zinn

Jon Kabat-Zinn discusses the scientific research on MBSR and its relationship to health,
Google talk, YouTube, March 8, 2007.

Bill Moyers PBS video
on Healing from Within
from the series Healing and the Mind

Selected past issues of The Living Moment

Spring 2015Fall 2014 Spring 2014
Fall 2013   Fall 2012  Winter 2012
Fall 2011  Spring 2011  Fall 2010
Spring 2010  Fall 2009        

Dear Reader,

The Art of Conversation in the Digital Age
As we find ourselves entering Autumn, a season I like to approach as a time of new beginnings, I wanted to write to you about a well crafted article by Sherry Turkle published in the Sunday Review of the New York Times on September 26, 2015. She calls it, "Stop Googling. Let's Talk."  In it she addresses the impact our digital world has had on the art of human exchange and conversation, and by extension, the impact our digital world has on our relationship with each other and ourselves.

Dr. Turkle, an M.I.T. professor in its Science, Technology and Society Program who has been studying the impact of the digital age on our lives for over thirty years, begins her article by citing what some college students described as a "rule of three." They pointed out to her that when five or six people are having a conversation at dinner they check to make sure that three people are paying attention to the conversation and not looking at their phones before they can look down at their own phones. The result of this is that the conversations, while maintaining a certain continuity, are also kept relatively light.

Many young people praised living by the "rule of three," which they said allowed them to put their attention wherever they wanted it to be, allowing them to always be heard and never to be bored. Others, however added that there was also a sense of loss. Dr. Turkle believes that we have found ways around those conversations in which empathy and intimacy flourish, conversations in which, potentially, "we learn who we are."

Dr. Turkle's thesis is that there is an "essential connection between solitude and conversation." She goes further suggesting that, "Some of the most crucial conversations you will ever have will be with yourself."
She believes that re-learning "unitasking" (including the art of conversation) will increase performance and decrease stress. She is not asking us to give up our devices, but to "carve out spaces...that are device-free, sacred spaces for the paired virtues of conversation and solitude."

My own relationship with the digital world is something I have been trying to come to terms with for quite a while now. As a teacher of MBSR, the digital world makes a great deal of things I consider good so much more possible. People can find and reach me. I can write this newsletter and share what I've learned with you. But, I also know all too well the seductive downside of this part of my life.

I've thought about how in behavioral studies with rats intermittent re-inforcement is the most difficult type to extinguish. If you give a rat a food pellet intermittently (not every time), it will keep hitting the lever over and over again hoping for a pellet. Because we receive an especially important or pleasurable text or email every so often, we can become like rodents, returning to hit those keys or those screens over and over again.

My computer is upstairs near the bedroom and where I meditate is down-stairs. I literally have had to make it a distinct intention, which I regularly need to renew, to get up from my bed in the morning and go straight down to my meditation cushions without stopping at the computer!

Dr. Turkle also remarks on research that reveals that young people are losing their capacity for empathy. Here she mentions the "seven minute rule." A college student told her that she "shied away from conversation (other than on her phone) because it demanded that one live by the rigors of the "seven minute rule" in which it takes at least seven minutes to see how a conversation is going to unfold. The student said that she "often doesn't have the patience to wait for anything near that kind of time before going to her phone."

The psychologists Howard Gardner and Katie Davis have named this generation the "app generation," and claim that it "tends toward impatience, expecting the world to respond like an app." Turkle says that this way of living contributes to "friendships becoming things to manage; you have a lot of them and you come to them with tools" (in order to manage them like one would an "algorithm"). Furthermore, Turkle believes that "one start toward reclaiming conversation is to reclaim solitude... which when constructively cultivated, creates some potentially optimal conditions for finding ourselves." Also, she believes this can be a corrective through which we may discover that "some of the most crucial conversations you will ever have will be with yourself."

Professor Turkle's article has made me re-examine my own life and how the seduction of the occasional "highs" and subsequent "busyness" of the digital world has at times seduced me away from my relationship with myself as well as with some of my closest friends. In particular, one of my dearest friends and I have had a rich, lifelong correspondence. We wrote wonderful letters throughout our formative years. I particularly treasured those exchanges when she lived abroad and I kept all of her letters throughout the years. In later times, although we lived further from each other and our lives became busier with family and career obligations, we then managed to make phone appointments with each other in which we protected our time and space well enough to have long and very meaningful conversations.



And so

it has taken me

all of sixty years

to understand

that water is the finest drink

and bread the most delicious food

and that art is worthless

unless it plants

a measure of splendor

in people's hearts.

Taha Muhammed Ali
Excerpt from "Twigs", found in
So what:
New and collected poems,
Translated by Peter Cole,
Yahya Hijazi,
and Gabriel Levin)

Start close in,
don't take the second step or the third,
start with the first
close in,
the step
you don't want to take.

Start with
the ground
you know,
the pale ground
beneath your feet,
your own
way of starting
the conversation.

David Whyte

Excerpt from River Flow - New and Selected Poems

The Living Moment 

There is a stillness at dawn
asking for me

I hear the note not played

I see the line not written

I understand the word not spoken
I am in stillness

I am the Living Moment

Cliff Woodward
Stephen Damon)

Dr. Turkle's article helped me realize that in more recent years, even this friend and I, who both resisted the digital age, began having less frequent phone conversations and more frequent email "checkings-in." I am very grateful that we still keep in touch, but often it has become a Sunday night quick digital note just to let each other know we're thinking of each other and sending our love. (And we're not even of the "app generation.")

Reflecting on this today, I'm thinking of another close friend who many years ago lived through a painful break-up of a marriage and went to live in an ashram in India. After a number of months there, she wrote me a beautiful letter in which she said she had come to the realization that "fear of loneliness had really been fear of her own emptiness." Once she had had the courage to sit with her feelings and not run away from them, she found that she was not empty after all...and that each moment was filled with richness.

For me, personally, taking the time to sit in mindful meditation each morning continues to help me reconnect with the nature of my own mind and conditioning, and thus to connect more authentically with myself. That nourishing foray into solitude is a fuel that refreshes and helps me reconnect with the nature of my own mind and conditioning. Through letting the busy thoughts and feelings flutter down to their appropriate places, it helps me connect more authentically with myself and live more creatively for the rest of the day.

By becoming centered enough to see both what I turn away from as well as to what I am drawn, I feel like I am cultivating greater freedom through the capacity to make choices where I may not have seen them before. In this way, I feel I am nourishing a more flexible and vital relationship with myself and the people who mean the most to me in my world.

Again, the article by Sherry Turkle may be found by clicking here.

Diane Handlin, Ph.D.
Licensed Psychologist

NJ Lic. #3306, NY Lic. #015840

Diane Handlin
Diane Handlin, Ph.D.
Founder and
Executive Director
Jim Handlin
Jim Handlin, Ed.D.
Executive Consultant

"As to the value of the course, I would note that the group workshop designed to work through Jon Kabat-Zinn's curriculum is very effective. The workshop / course added a great deal of depth and opened my mind to a different way of looking at things and fostered exploration. When mindfullly present, time seems to expand for me. I relax, freed from thinking about the next place I have to be or the next thing I have to do ... I have discovered that if I hold off, I usually do not act along the lines of my first reaction. I've realized that I almost always have time not to act immediately. I've also rediscovered my happy me, what I remember from soooo long ago ..., and that is really wonderful."       - Jane Dobson, Corporate attorney

IMPORTANT NOTICE: Although Dr. Handlin is a licensed psychologist and has a separate psychology practice, please note that this is an educational course and not psychotherapy. In addition, information contained in this document is informational and not to be construed as medical advice. If you suspect you have medical issues, please pursue appropriate treatment. Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction is a separate educational course for those interested in developing mind-body connections. MBSR is a non-psychological service offered apart from Dr. Handlin's psychology practice and is not meant to substitute for personal or professional psychological advice which must be received from a licensed mental health professional.

NJ Lic. #3306, NY Lic. #015840

Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Center of New Jersey™

328 Amboy Ave, Metuchen NJ 08840

Tel:  732-549-9100,