The Wild Within: Adventures in Nature and Animal Teachings

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9780425171578: The Wild Within: Adventures in Nature and Animal Teachings

A "surprising and powerful"* story of a man and his place in the natural world--"rich in spiritual insights as unfettered and full of grace as the animals he loves."(*Booklist starred review)

Paul Rezendes has followed bobcats through swamps, wrestled a black bear, howled with coyotes at the edge of a moonlit field. Here, he tells the story of his extraordinary progression from motorcycle-gang leader to Zen woodsman, learning about compassion from a curious 750-pound bull moose and discovering the inseparability of life and death through a wrenching encounter between a coyote and a deer. With this book, he shows us how to live in the natural world--even if it's only within a local park or tree-lined street--moving soundlessly, watching where we put our feet, gauging the wind, and entering a new state of awareness. Dramatic and deeply spiritual, The Wild Within changes the way we see ourselves--and makes the world around us come alive.

* Foreword by Bill McKibben, bestselling author of The End of Nature
* A choice of the Quality Paperback Book Club and One Spirit Book Club
* Illustrated throughout with Rezendes's striking photographs
* Rezendes has appeared on NPR and also delivers approximately 50 workshops a year through such organizations as the World Wildlife Fund and the Nature Conservancy

"A valuable method of teaching awareness of each moment, moment after moment--the critical practice of this valuable life."--Peter Matthiessen

"Like Muir, Leopold, and Abbey, Rezendes goes beyond words to beating-heart intimacy with the wilderness."--Dave Foreman, author of Confessions of an Eco-Warrior

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Review:

The story of Paul Rezendes's spiritual journey began when he was leader of a motorcycle gang (i.e., a Devil's Disciple). His dangerous life of narcotics and guns eventually caught up with him and he and his wife found themselves in trouble with the law. His legal hassles gave him the perfect excuse to back out of the gang; thus he reneged on his lifelong commitment. (Apparently, motorcycle gangs are a lot like the Mafia; he muses, "You better have a damn good reason to leave.") From then on Rezendes began a furtive spiritual quest that led him into the woods, following the paw and hoof prints of wild animals.

Like Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, Rezendes teaches the art of animal tracking and stalking, all the while making the link to the clean, observant Zen mind. "Stalking meditation demands that we pay full attention to every footfall, every breath, every sound we make, each nuance of landscape, wind, humidity," he writes. "Stalking gives us the opportunity to move away from the tiny perspective of thought and self into all-encompassing awareness." Rezendes, a renowned teacher of seminars and workshops, uses personal tracking stories to emphasize the importance of focused observation. But more importantly, his storytelling challenges readers to be spiritually accountable in the wild as well as everyday life.--Gail Hudson

About the Author:

Paul Rezendes, regularly commissioned as a wildlife consultant by state and federal conservation organizations, is also the author of Tracking and the Art of Seeing. His nature photographs have appeared in the New York Times Magazine, Sierra, New Age Journal, and other publications.

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Paul Rezendes
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