The Fall 2014 issue of Parabola is titled “Spiritual Practice” and features excerpts from the How Do You Pray? book.
From the editor:
FOCUS | From the Editor
Spiritual Practice, Volume 39, Number 3, Fall 2014
As children, my brother and I were taught to place our slippers far under our beds each night. Our parents hoped that when we reached for those slippers the next morning, we’d find ourselves in a kneeling position and would remember to say our morning prayers.
Why is it that engagement with the higher, the sacred, the spiritual, requires practice? Call it the veil of Maya, sleep, original sin, monkey mind, or ego, there is something within us that blocks us from direct apprehension of the divine. We practice to allow this something to find its proper place, to make room within us for the sacred, and also to remember to go beyond apprehension to living the truth, practicing the truth.
Spiritual practice is universal yet culturally specific and widely varied. Nearly all humans pray. Some kneel, some prostrate themselves, others bow or sit or stand, praying silently or aloud. We chant, we sit in meditation, we pursue sacred dance, we go to mass, we fast, we tithe, we undergo initiations, we go on pilgrimage, we do yoga, we perform sacrifices and acts of kindness, and much more.
This Fall 2014 issue of Parabola explores the world of spiritual practice with the guidance of accomplished teachers and practitioners. Our interview is with Mirabai Starr, a bright new voice in interfaith studies who as a teen lived at the Lama Foundation, where she studied with Buddhist, Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Jewish, Taoist, and Native teachers. Also in this issue, among other authors, legendary filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky recalls his work with a Zen master, Tracy Cochran remembers how a young woman lived and prepared for death, and Roger Lipsey delves into the spiritual work of Thomas Merton. In addition, musician Baird Hersey teaches us the rare pursuit of Nada yoga, Keith A. Buzzell recalls his early years in the Gurdjieff Work, Lillian Firestone ponders how to find (and to leave) the right spiritual teacher, and others show the why and how of their own spiritual work.
It is our hope that, whatever your chosen path, you find in this issue help to practice and to take you farther along the Way.
—Jeff Zaleski, Editor & Publisher