Different footpaths, different visions:
two never before trodden paths


Two unpublished itineraries, one in Adamello and one in Brenta, are open to the public and have stopping places to listen to and meditate on the landscape.  They are two “untamed” footpaths found from the traces of ancient walkers at an altitude from 1,600 to 2,300 metres and are to be walked in the spirit of anticipation and amazement – they offer an experience of communicating with the landscape and listening to what it has to tell.

The guide par excellence for “different visions” is Professor Luigi Lombardi Vallauri, full professor of Philosphy and Law in Florence and Milan.  Author of numerous historical, theoretical, philosophical and legal studies in which he delves into the principles of general philosophical and the philosophy of religion, Lombardi Vallauri has, in recent years, laid the foundations of a considered and methodically applied mystique on the intersection between eastern spirituality and western science.  He conducts radio series on Rai Radiotre, including the recent “Meditare in Occidente” (Meditate in the West).


Interview with Roberta Bonazza



Profesor Lonbardi Vallauri, how did you arrive at the special form of contemplation that you call “meditation of the landscape”?

I have a long history of spiritual research that was mainly Christian in the beginning.  Then, first through yoga, I met the Orient and then moved on to techniques of meditation not involving the body, like zen meditation.  Later, at the beginning of the seventies I created a fundamental research group.  It was Corrado Pensa who led me to understand that you can be profoundly religious without needing dogmas and thus be on a purely spiritual plane.  To me he opened the spiritual dimension without dogmas and without other worlds.

And meditation?

It came after the fundamental research group, in 1979.  With a group of guys that today are my elective family.  We have had more than one thousand meetings.  Every two years, on the even years, we make a journey, almost always to Asia but not necessarily.  We stay at high altitudes in complete silence, in a tent, at at least 2500 metres.  This is how this contemplative dimension entered my life, it has nothing directly to do with my professional life.  They are two parallel things, and one fosters the other.  However, not everyone has this point of contact.  That’s what made me do the radio broadcasts, which are special moments of reflection on meditation

Why do you think we need to “meditate in the West”?

I believe that today, I don’t say for salvation, but the sensible place to look for solutions is not in the valleys of the different traditions, but on the crests, at the intersection.  If we take the West as a big valley and the Orient as the other valley, the West left to itself risks universal “macdonaldization”. That is, a million McDonalds everywhere: in America, in Europe, in Africa, in China, in India. And the mad consumption of petrol and steak.  The traditional Orient left to itself on the other hand risks getting bogged down in superstition.  The ignorant holy man, the pseudo-magician.  So I believe that the interesting quest is for the West that accepts all the order of spirituality of the Orient, and the Orient that accepts all the order of science of the West.  And I am most genuinely trying to make Western science into a spiritual pathway.  A pathway of contemplation.  That’s what I call creative meditation.  The mysticism of the intersections, in particular the intersections between the West and the Orient.   I think the future is there.

And the future of the planet?

We must absolutely reverse the trend that is usually called progress.  Including the use of mystifying adjectives such as sustainable.  I believe that almost no adjective should be applied to the word progress that sweetens the truth behind the development.  Either it is progress and thus not sustainable, or it’s sustainable and thus not what we call progress.  In particular, petrol and steak, the American idols that we too are imposing on the whole world, destroy world balance.  If everyone consumed as much petrol and meat as the average American (followed, even if at a good distance, by the European), it would mean the end of the beauty of this planet.  Meat consumption, especially, is not only unethical for the suffering it inflicts on the animals, but is absolutely anti-ecological.  Every steak is the equivalent of hundreds of kilograms of food that could feed the world without destroying the planet.  Raising cows means cutting down forests and transforming them into pasture, and these pastures trodden by cows become desert.  The Chinese, who are almost as cruel as we are in their treatment of animals, are moving from a diet based on the famous four Taoist cereals to a carnivorous diet.  So I repeat:  the petrol-steak combination is not a viable proposal for this planet.

How can western science lead to contemplation?

For example, science can be laid wide on four infinitives.  The infinitely large astronomical Universe.  The infinitely small subatomic world.  The infinitely complex, beginning with the cell.  Every single cell is much more complex than the Universe; they are true cathedrals of complexity.  And then there is the infinite inability to represent the transformation from matter to awareness.  We all have a bulb of awareness in our skulls and no one knows why this bulb of flesh produces awareness.  We are not amazed by exceptional things, we are amazed by the basic ones.  The mystical world project is a project of creative wonder acting on that which is there.  We are lost in the wonderful.  And we move within it like sleep walkers.







«Altrisentieri, altrevisioni» (More footpaths, more visions) is part of the «Il Mistero dei Monti» (The Mystery of the Mountains) framework.





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