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The Companionship of the Present

The real challenge any of us faces isn’t a matter of figuring out how to live, or how to see the world, or how to think about life – although exploring these issues is a fruitful part of being human. What’s finally crucial to understand is that the real challenge we face is how to drop away all the systems of idea that we might grasp at, every notion we use to mediate between us and the companionship of the present, and encounter it directly. We spend so much time trying to ‘get our thoughts right’ that we risk forgetting what it is to drop into the vivid, sensual reality of the embodied present, and let it speak to you. I think that’s what the ancient rites of adulthood were really about – the Vision Quest, the Walkabout: leaving the familiar story that our culture provides about what the world means, and what it means to be human, and encountering the world directly. In that encounter, the prick of reality and the bottomless depth of its mystery reveal the utter inadequacy of any story we might concoct to contain or explain it.

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