The Inner Journey - Views From The Islamic Tradition

Morning Light Press, Sandpoint, Idaho, U.S.A.

Series Editor: Ravi Ravindra

IslamRead
Sample Excerpt. 

 

Sample Excerpt

Excerpted from the essay

When Parabola: Myth, Tradition, and the Search for Meaning was launched in 1976, the founder, D. M. Dooling, wrote in her first editorial: “Parabola has a conviction: that human existence is significant, that life essentially makes sense in spite of our confusions, that man is not here on earth by accident but for a purpose, and that whatever that purpose may be it demands from him the discovery of his own meaning, his own totality and identity. A human being is born to set out on this quest. … Every true teaching, every genuine tradition has sought to train its disciples to act this part, to become in fact followers of the great quest for one’s self.”

For over thirty years, Parabola has honored the great wisdom traditions of every culture, turning to their past and present masters and practitioners for guidance in this quest. Recognizing that the aim of each tradition is the transformation of human life through practice supported by knowledge and understanding, Parabola on behalf of its readers has turned again and again to Buddhist and Christian monks, Sufi and Jewish teachers, Hindu scholars, and Native American and other indigenous peoples, evoking from each of them illumination and insight.

Over the years Parabola, in each of its issues devoted to a central theme of the human condition as it is and as it might be, has gathered remarkable material. “The Call,” “Awakening,” “Food,” “Initiation,” “Dreams and Seeing,” “Liberation,” “The Mask,” “Attention”: in these and in scores of other issues, a facet of the essential search is explored, always with the aim of casting light on the way.

The purpose of the Parabola Anthology Series is to gather the material published in Parabola during its first thirty years in order to focus this light, and to reflect the inner dimensions of each of these traditions. While every religious tradition has both external and inner aspects, the aim of each is the transformation of the whole being. The insights
and understandings that ring true and carry the vibration of an inner meaning can provide guidance and support for our quest, but a mere mechanical repetition of forms which were once charged with great energy can take us away from the heart of the teaching. Every tradition must change and evolve; it has to be re-interpreted and re-understood by successive generations in order to maintain its relevance and application.

Search carries a connotation of journey, and requires an active involvement and a hope for new insight and experience. The aim of the spiritual or inner journey is transformation, to become more responsible and more compassionate as understanding and being grow. This demands an active undertaking, and insights from those who have traveled the path can provide a call, bring inspiration, and serve as a reminder of the need to search.

For this series, selections have been made from the material published in Parabola relating to each of the major traditions and teachings. Subtle truths are expressed in myths, poetry, stories, parables and, above all, in the lives, actions, and expressions of those people who have been immersed in the teaching, have wrestled with it and have been informed and transformed by it. Some of these insights have been elicited through interviews with current practitioners of various teachings. Each of the great traditions is very large and within each tradition there are distinct schools of thought, as well as many practices, rituals, and ceremonies. None of the volumes in the present series claim to be exhaustive of the whole tradition or to give a complete account of it.

In addition to the material that has been selected from the library of Parabola issues, the editor of each volume in the series provides an introduction to the teaching, a reminder of the heart of the tradition in the section, “The Call of the Tradition,” as well as a list of books suggested for further study and reflection. It is the hope of the publishers and editors that this new series will surprise, challenge, and support those new to Parabola as well as its many readers.

-Ravi Ravindra