June 15, 2009

[Book Review] “Solitude: Seeking Wisdom In Extremes” by Bob Kull

Bob Kull spent a year alone in the Patagonia wilderness, with a pet cat! This is an intimate account of a modern day spiritual adventurer. Bob draws upon many traditions from Buddhism to Christianity to inform his solitary ordeal.

For me, when I heard Bob’s interview on New Dimensions last week, I felt incredibly inspired and uplifted (you can download that interview here).

I’ve done many solos in my life, but nothing quite as epic as Bob’s. I am currently reading his book which is basically Bob’s personal journal with a few outtakes and chapters that help put the whole experience in perspective.

The great thing about Bob’s journey is his humanity. Bob does not claim to be anyone special. He humbly goes out into the woods well equipped to spend a year alone without much fanfare or self-aggrandizement.

In a day where popular reality shows like Man vs Wild encourage the view that nature as something to be tackled and conquered, Bob relates to nature as his teacher and how it mirrors his own beauty.  He simply makes a plan to head to one of the most remote areas in South America to sit and study himself for his PhD research project.

Bob is also equipped with a good understanding of common spiritual laws and principles such as impermanence but these are constantly challenged by the rawness of his ordeal. He speaks in candor about his own limitations, frustrations and awakenings.

Bob is a meditator and has his own version of mindfulness he calls “a sprinkling of Chuang Tsu, Krishnamurti, Pema Chodron, Chogyam Trungpa and Alan Watts.”

This is not a glorified account of how great his year alone was. It is a real, raw, very personal story of the human journey. Bob makes some amazing discoveries about his relationship to himself, society and the world.

I will be interviewing Bob this week and I have so many questions for him. I want to ask him how his story is different from “Into the Wild” and whether he considers his quest a rite-of-passage and what younger folks (specifically men) can learn from such a journey.

Feel free to join us on Wednesday June 17, noon MST for the call.

Bob shows us that it is still possible to create epic solitude adventures for ourselves and he gives us the courage to do so. If you are a spritual seeker or wilderness lover, this book is a must read.

Check out Bob’s website here: http://bobkull.org/

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