Introducing the Summer 2012 Issue: “Alone & Together.”
FOCUS | From the Editor
Alone and Together
“The hardest spiritual work on the planet is to try to work in everyday life,” says architect Barry Svigals in this Summer 2012 issue of PARABOLA. “We rarely talk about how difficult it is for a person in a family … to live a spiritual life while the kids are crying, diapers need to be changed, a job has to be done, all those things.”
How is it that we manage to follow any sort of spiritual path in the midst of the mayhem that is ordinary life?
“He aspired to carry the cloister within him … he knew he could not live in a monastery,” writes Brother Paul Quenon earlier in this Alone & Together issue. Brother Paul, who studied with Thomas Merton, is referring to the poet Rainer Maria Rilke, but his words apply to most contemporary seekers.
Most of us do not live in monasteries, but we recognize that we need others along the way, and perhaps especially because we reside in the modern-day secular world. Through others we find meaning and purpose, and in them we see useful mirrors of ourselves. Yet we also recognize a profound need for silence, for the stillness of solitude, for the cloister within, the Kingdom of God as Jesus called it.
How can we wisely balance the need for both solitude and community in our lives and in our spiritual search?
This issue of PARABOLA explores that question through interviews, articles, stories, poems, and art. Among its many highlights are an extensive interview with veteran movie star and Vedanta student Alan Arkin, and another with Buddhist monk and photographer Matthieu Ricard. There is deep wisdom from Saint Syncletica, one of the ancient Desert Mothers, and a powerful tale of vengeance and remorse from the Japanese Noh tradition. Also in this issue, we celebrate Peter Rabbit on his 110th anniversary, share the wonderful bonding of a man and a fox, and offer excerpts from two new books, one of which concerns a woman who grows angel’s wings.
May you enjoy and benefit from this latest issue of PARABOLA.
—Jeff Zaleski, Editor & Publisher
COVER: Nuns / monks at eight-hundred-year-old birthday celebration / rituals of the Buddhist Drukpa Lineage, Naro-Photang Shey (Shey Monastery), Leh Ladakh, Indian Himalayas, India. ©Timothy Allen: humanplanet.com.
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