Current Issue

Parabola Volume 43, No. 3, Fall 2018: The Journey Home

The theme of this issue of Parabola is “The Journey Home,” and as we see from the rich selection of essays, poetry, and art in its pages, “Journey” and “Home” are of equal import. Our life is a journey and there are homes to reach, during this life and also at its end and perhaps beyond.

Life as a purposeful quest is exemplified in the odyssey of Ram Dass. Born as Richard Alpert, celebrated then shunned in the 1960s for his work with Timothy Leary and psychedelics, he fled to India and returned as Ram Dass. For the past half century he has been a towering spiritual leader despite a devastating stroke twenty years ago that left him physically helpless. In this issue, Ram Dass and his friend Mirabai Bush speak eloquently of the last stages of the journey of life and of what may follow.

We can experience the journey home in every moment, as we return to awareness of our bodies and ourselves on the earth, as indicated in an interview with Abhijata Iyengar, the granddaughter of the yoga guru and a teacher in her own right. And in the moment we can also journey to an awareness of the God or the Higher, a possibility explored by Rabbi Eliezer Shore in his essay here.
Between the moment and the entire life there arise a multitude of journeys home. Among those depicted here are that of a modern Muslim woman, Zainab Salbi, to her religion’s home of Mecca; the re-engagement with town life of Buddhist teacher Vajragupta after a wilderness retreat; the return to peace of wounded warriors, explored by physician David Kopacz and Native American visionary Joseph Rael (Beautiful Painted Arrow); and even a meditation on South African bees returning home, from naturalist Neil Rusch.

Further contributions from renowned Zen author Natalie Goldberg, Trappist monk Br. Paul Quenon, Parabola’s Tracy Cochran, and other insightful voices complete a special issue that we hope will serve you well during your own journeys home.

—Jeff Zaleski

Cover Description: Photograph by Simon Matzinger from

Purchase the Current Issue

Table of Contents


Walt Whitman, Not I, nor anyone else can travel that road for you: You must travel it by yourself….

Ram Dass & Mirabai Bush , Going Home: Welcoming the end of the journey

Tracy Cochran, Speechless: A meditation teacher loses her voice—and finds her way

Trebbe Johnson, Equipment List for the Journey Home: A guide to exploring, inner and outer

Natalie Goldberg, The Greatness in Front of Us: Visiting the Brontë sisters

Br. Paul Quenon, O.C.S.O., A Week at the Hermitage: A Trappist monk’s sojourn at Thomas Merton’s hermitage

Zainab Salbi, One and Equal in Front of God: A modern Muslim woman visits Mecca

Parker Palmer, Fierce with Reality: Living well in the time we have

Vajragupta, The Return Journey:Moving from solitude to community

Jane L. Mickelson, Hearth and Home: Of fairytales, and fires good and evil

Rabbi Eliezer Shore, The Still Small Voice: A Jewish perspective on hearing God’s call

Annie Schliffer, How to Open Ourselves Out: A conversation with Abhijata Iyengar, heir to the guru

David R. Kopacz, M.D., and Joseph Rael (Beautiful Painted Arrow), Coming Home to Peace: Wounded warriors on the hero’s journey

Neil Rusch, Honey Song: What the bees—and the Bushmen—know

Wendy Garling, Like a Noble Lion: How the Buddha came home to himself

Kabir Helminski, The Coming Renewal: Rediscovering the Integrity of Islam: A shaikh of the Sufi Mevlevi Order on the future of Islam


Emily Dickinson: Our Journey Had Advanced


Ours is a Diving Journey


Black Elk, Lakota Visionary: The Oglala Holy Man & Sioux Tradition
Harry Oldmeadow / reviewed by Samuel Bendeck Sotillos