Trying to Transcend

A Yale student attempts commercialized meditation

Illustration by Madeleine Witt. “Aim, aim, aim.” I’m sitting cross-legged on the floor of my dorm room, eyes closed, chanting this word over and over in my head. I’m trying to practice Transcendental Meditation, which, among meditators, is known for being especially simple. But it doesn’t feel simple. Am I breathing correctly? Is my posture right? How will I know if I’m meditating? I worry that worrying about the best way to meditate is getting in the way of meditating, which is exactly the kind. . . Read more
Margaret Shultz
The X-Ray and the Eye

Scientists and art historians disagree about the right way to look at art

In a corner of an industrial building just outside of New Haven, a woman points a gun at a treasured painting. The weapon is loaded, and she is ready to fire. She aims carefully, focuses, and pulls the trigger. But this gun shoots X-rays, not bullets. As an X-ray strikes the canvas, it jumbles the electrons orbiting an atom of paint. The atom quickly reshuffles its particles in order to regain its former state of equilibrium. In doing so, the atom sends back another ray,. . . Read more
Julia Rothchild
Loaded Questions

Connecticut gun owners are suing their state over new gun laws. A reporter meets them at the shooting range.

We pull into the parking lot with a trunk full of guns. I have arrived at the Branford Gun Club along with Lenny Benedetto and his wife Virginia. Both are gun enthusiasts and active in the anti-gun control lobby. Lenny is the vice president of the Connecticut Citizens’ Defense League (CCDL), and his wife is the organization’s technology coordinator. They are out to show me that neither guns nor their owners are intrinsically scary, and today, they are going to teach me how to shoot.. . . Read more
Isabelle Taft