My favorite author of last year

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My favorite author of last year

Post  OpRise on Mon Feb 06, 2012 1:28 am

Bowled over by the beauty of Utah and in the shadow of Grosvener's arch - I did a couple week camping road trip by myself last summer in a sort of spiritual journey type fashion - I stumbled upon the Authority of reclusive desert adventuring. Edward Abbey, Desert Solitaire... here's an excerpt.

If Delicate Arch has any significance it lies, I will venture, in the power of the odd and unexpected to startle the senses and surprise the mind out of their ruts of habit, to compel us into a reawakened awareness of the wonderful - that which is full of wonder.

A weird, lovely, fantastic object of nature like Delicate Arch has the curious ability to remind us - like rock and sunlight and wind and wilderness - that OUT THERE is a different world, older and greater and deeper by far than ours, a world which surrounds and sustains the little world of men as sea and sky surround and sustain a ship. The shock of the real. For a little while we are again able to see, as the child sees, a world of marvels. For a few moments we discover that nothing can be taken for granted, for if this ring of stone is marvelous then all which shaped it is marvelous, and our journey here on earth, able to see and touch and hear in the midst of tangible and mysterious things-in-themselves, is the most strange and delicate of all adventures.

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Re: My favorite author of last year

Post  WordsandSilence on Thu Feb 23, 2012 1:24 pm

OpRise,

Thanks for sharing this piece of writing by Abbey.

And good for you, for having the impulse to do a solitary spiritual journey--and for following through in action. I've been seriously considering the idea of taking a "sabbatical" and living for a while in the freedom and simplicity of an RV, chiefly in the areas of desert and mountain and bright sun and clear air. (Some of my most beautiful moments were hiking in similar terrain in New Mexico and other parts of the world.) Or if that's an unwise leap, then at least to do as you've done, and take a week's journey and see what that teaches me.

The wilderness--away from civilization and all its unending, and largely unconscious, ties and obligations to old identity and artificial constructs--has been for many traditions the necessary cradle of spirituality. I believe that those who want to think for themselves often feel the intuition to remove themselves from the cacophony of crowded humanity, because they sense that away from the magnetic or repulsive or simply distracting energies of others--and the physical reminders of their own past that trigger the old, limiting thinking and behavior of their habits--they will be better able to listen for the faint voices of authenticity and "the spirit." For the most obvious example: Moses was first spoken to by God in the wilderness when he left Egypt, the Israelites were given their revelation in the Sinai desert, I believe Saul became Paul on the road, too. And Buddha left his home, and achieved enlightenment under a tree, etc. (By the way, it seems to me that introverts and perceivers--IPs--are likely to most feel the urge to get away both from people and their conventions...and, all things being equal, to seek some peace and reorientation in the wilderness.)

It's one of the interesting paradoxes of spiritual history that nearly every tradition begins with the lone individual diverging from the accepted rules and hierarchies and traditions of the day--and often physically moving away from too close contact to cities and civilization--yet within a generation or two the followers of this rebel tend to calcify his teachings into a new rules-bound, society-centered orthodoxy, usually headquartered in a busy people-crowded city, which doesn't have much tolerance for individualists...let alone silence and wilderness. (Of course, sometimes the founder of a new religion has himself promulgated detailed and rigid rules for new conformity.)

By the way, I think this INFP site may soon be getting a folder/category for essays and creative nonfiction (at least I've suggested it). If we do, there would be a place for group members to write such a piece as the one by Abbey you shared.


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