Thursday, 28 July 2011

The Telling Stones

Put yourself in the company of an aging Aussie backpacking with a fantastic sense of humour and you'll have the basis of a night in with Ritkam Barry, author of Non Duality Press's latest foray outside the realms of conventional spiritual publishing, the fantastic The Telling Stones. Add to Barry's list of attributes, a collection of some of the funniest life stories you're likely to encounter, a shrewd understanding of human nature, and a genuine flair for the written word and you're getting closer. Even so, describing just what it is about this book that makes it so likeable isn't easy. As a spiritual guidebook it probably wouldn't be top of your list, nor would it necessarily lodge in your memory purely for the quality of its narrative. It's immense likeability rests on something between these two poles, to a degree that I read the book cover to cover in one sitting, most of it spent smiling. Barry's take on Non Duality doesn't differ widely from a lot of others, and indeed his references to it are somewhat brief, if one excludes the large portion of his life spent on the spiritual search. The final section entitled 'The Mad Bastards Guide to Enlightenment' is perhaps the weakest, one sensing this old talker hasn't yet learned quite how to speak about the ineffable. That said, he may do in time and it will probably be a hell of a read. Until then, content yourself with a simply conversational gem penned by one of life's originals. Rumour has it Barry's gone walkabout since the publication, vanished somewhere in the Outback without telling anyone where he is. If he's sitting around a campfire somewhere right now regaling one of these stories, his companions are in for a treat.

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