True North

The work I am involved in allows me to interact with a broad range of faiths. In fact, much of my work during the last decade has been in developing dialogue with people of different faiths and in bridging the gap between religious and non-religious world-views. That is what dialogue means. Dia & logos, two Greek terms which can be thought of as using language to jump across a gap. The art of dialogue, then, comes with a warning, to Mind the Gap.

So, in these settings, I am often asked questions about my own faith journey, which has been a long and winding path, with pauses at the crossroads. In common with most people, there have been times when I wished that the signposts were clearer, or that some benevolent guide would appear. However, my belief is that inside each person there is a virtual compass, and that, if we are diligent in our attention to the magnetism of the compass, then it is possible to distinguish our own true North. Remember, paying diligent attention is an act of will. It is a self-discipline, and it is also a commitment. Attention must always be critical, so that we protect ourselves from thoughtlessly following the paths of others.

If you are reading this, then you have already felt the pull of the meditative life. Together (or virtually together), we have explored some of the basic approaches to meditation as a practice. However, my aim has been to deepen the practice itself by asking the question, “How do we actually live a meditative life?”

I suggest that the first step is to retrace our steps to find the unique pathway that has led us to a desire for the peace and wholeness of meditation. Chances are that, in re-tracing our steps, we will uncover incarnations of ourselves, like so many matryoshka dolls nesting one inside the other. The point here is to be assured that we may have grown and changed, but that some essence of us will always remain. Every incarnation is a chapter in our story.

Indeed, I have come by the backroads to the meditative life. My hope is that my readers have been encouraged, through these reflections, to revisit their own back story, and to sense the power of creativity that every one of us is born with.


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