Here is a feast of ideas, images, and imaginative approaches to the inner world and the world surrounding us. Robert Aitken who has been called "the unofficial American dean of Zen" and Brother David-Steindl-Rast, a Benedictine monk and ardent spokesperson for the Christian contemplative tradition, engage in dialogue on religion in this edifying volume. Both agree that the only sane approach to the mystery of life is a letting go, a surrender to not knowing. Aitken and Steind-Rast offer insights into spiritual practices such as meditation, listening with the heart, and prayer.
Drawing on illustrative material from their own lives and traditions, they present fresh slants on religious authority, the student and the teacher, compassionate action and the reshaping of society, self and the ultimate, tradition and traditionalism. Our favorite section of the book deals with everyday practice and contains wonderful interpretations of the transformation of character, ease with oneself, bitter emotions, and dealing with others.
Here's Robert Aitken on inspiration: "Look a moment at that word inspiration. It means 'to take in the spirit.' The people who are giving you their attention are taking in the spirit. They're taking in your spirit, making it their own, and thereby enlarging our mutual experience."
And here's David Steindl-Rast on not knowing: "Among the many things that profoundly impress me about the Dalai Lama, quite high up on the list is his ability to say, 'I just don't know.' I've often wished that other people in prominent positions wouldn't feel the compulsion to have an answer for everything and would feel equally free to say, "I don't know.' It's a sign of wisdom to know that you don't know and a sign of stupidity to think you have to know everything."
This enlightening dialogue between two great spiritual teachers is a bracing read.