Interviewsand Articles

 

A Pathless Land: Newsletter #46

by R. Whittaker, Jul 10, 2019


 

 




photo: Saïd Nuseibeh




Borrowing from Krishnamurti’s famous remark, truth is a pathless land, the thought comes up, “Yes. And yet it’s still truth.” If this land is pathless, it may be because it cannot survive being packaged for distribution. It doesn’t scale that way because it lives inside of being, not things. And its essence may be more like a question than an answer. I find that the four features in this edition of our newsletter (#46) give rise to such thoughts.
     Certainly, paths are a perfect fit with our conversation with Petra Wolf. I met her in a circle of sharing at Ratna Ling - the Nyingma Institute’s conference center - in Northern California. An off-hand remark made during the circle led me to seek her out afterwards. “Did you say you walked across the U.S.?” She did.
     It was the spark for the interview here in which Petra tells her story of pilgrimage - a big story with several parts. As she says, a pilgrimage is a search, and it’s not until you begin walking that the nature of the search really begins to appear. Or put another way, one begins to be where one is, and see where to go next.    
     The walk Michael Kane describes took place accidentally. And yet, as brief as this true story is, it reminds me of architect Louis Kahn’s ideal. He wanted his buildings to embody something of the monumental. For him, this had nothing to do with the size of a building. The question was, did it have a touch of the eternal?
     And so to Michael’s story. Arriving from Seattle, Kane expected to be met at the Santa Rose airport. He was looking forward to an annual week long retreat he’d attended for years. He waited at the curb with his suitcase and carry-on bag. And waited. No one came to pick him up. The retreat center was 17 miles away. Michael’s walk was to be like none other.     
     In our interview with filmmaker John Wolfstone, the question - seen in its essence – is both fundamental and critical. It’s nothing less than how can people live together and sustainably metabolize the hidden and destructive forces that are present in every group and culture. For Wolfstone, an exemplar exists - Tamera, a community in Portugal with roots going back to 1978 and the vision of its founder, Dieter Duhm. How does that work? Here’s what Wolfstone has to say.
     As I ponder what to write about this last piece, “Gift Ecology – an Interview with Nipun Mehta” something musical comes to mind. If our first three pieces are tones, or notes, then this last one completes a harmonic, four-fold chord. And that leaves me with the question: would Krishnamurti agree that music exists in the pathless land of Truth? And would metaphor have a home there, as well?   
 

About the Author

Richard Whittaker is the founding editor of works & conversations and West Coast editor of Parabola magazine. 

 

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