• Parabola 42:1 The Search for Meaning

Parabola 42:1 Spring 2017

The Search for Meaning

“Between stimulus and response there is a space,” wrote psychiatrist and neurologist Viktor Frankl in his unforgettable memoir of his life in a Nazi death camp, Man’s Search for Meaning. “In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”

In this Spring 2017 issue of Parabola, Frankl’s grandson Alexander Vesely explains how the Holocaust survivor found meaning in acts of generosity, describing how Frankl once bought a radio for a stranger because he heard the man say he couldn’t afford to buy one, telling young Vesely: “Do I need the extra fifty bucks or would it be more meaningful if this man had those fifty bucks?” In myriad ways, we explore how loss—through death or theft or failure or the poverty that can come with being a dedicated artist or spiritual seeker—can open us to the richness of meaning. As Carl Jung discovered in his exploration of the I Ching, detailed here in a essay by analyst Annette Lowe, meaning is opening to relationships beyond causality, to truths that call us from unknown depths.

The great paradox known by ancient and Aboriginal peoples invoked in this issue is that this sense of existing in the vast space of the cosmos can be known in the depths of the human heart. “Put the mind in the heart,” writes Cynthia Bourgeault here, drawing from the Philokalia, a revered spiritual collection from the Christian East. The ancient ones of the East and the West knew, as the Aboriginal ones still know, that the heart is an organ of subtle perception, intuition, and feeling.

Few knew the oneness of the heart as well as long-time Parabola contributor Huston Smith, who died as this issue was created. “Whether we realize it or not, simply to be human is to long for release from mundane existence,” wrote Huston. We at Parabola mourn his passing. May this issue help release you from the ordinary workings of stimulus and response, making space for meaning.
—Tracy Cochran

Table of Contents


Maurice Nicoll, To Take Life as Work: Change the meaning of your life

Cynthia Bourgeault, The Way of the Heart: There is a path beyond the mind

Tracy Cochran, In the Midst of Winter, an Invincible Summer: Seeing the light when it is darkest

Alan Watts, How to Reach Where You Already Are: New Writing from the popular spiritual pioneer

Carol Berry, The Urge to Create: How a washed-up pastor became Vincent can Gogh

Dian Duchin Reed, The Dao of Meaning: How to live rightly and well

Susan Ishmael, The Turn of the Dial: Handling serpents, finding the Lord

Samuel Bercholz, The Truth of Impermanence: What happened after the author went to hell

Fran Grace, Viktor Frankl and the Search for Meaning: A conversation with Frankl’s grandson and a Frankl family champion

Richard Whittaker, Laurie: Meet a man impossible to classify

Neil Rusch, The Dawn's Heart Star and the Speed of Light: In the African desert, an Aboriginal revelation

Henry Fersko-Weiss, Life Review and the Search for Meaning: Finding meaning at the end of life

Tcheslaw Tchekhovitch, Impartial Kindness: With G.I. Gurdjieff in postwar Paris

James Hughes Reho, Towards a Christian Tantra: In a Turkish cave, a way to God

Annette Lowe, The I Ching and Synchronicity: A Jungian exploration of chance and mystery

Oscar Wilde, You Will Find It Waiting For You: After a fall from the heights, a letter from the depths


Robert Lax. S.T. Georgiou, editor, In the Beginning Was Love: Contemplative Words of Robert Lax | reviewed by Richard Whittaker



Parabola 42:1 The Search for Meaning

  • ISBN: 03721596421
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  • 11.30€