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James and Tyra Arraj
at the Aquinas castle in Italy

Behind the Scenes

 

Inner Explorations was founded by us, James and Tyra Arraj, as an organic result of our own attempts to discover the riches of our Catholic faith, and to integrate them with the treasures we had found in Jung's psychology, in the practice of Zen meditation, and in attempts to live a simpler life closer to nature. For more of our story: Inner Explorations: The Story

We live deep in a forest in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains near Crater Lake, Oregon, and far from paved roads and power lines. There we built our own house, grow salads in a solar greenhouse, taught our children at home, and write books and create videos with the electricity from our solar panels. See Simple Living Photo Gallery for pictures of our forest home. If you want to know more about our lives, read The Treasures of Simple Living, or see our video Simple Living.

Jim has a doctorate in theology specializing in Christian spirituality from the Gregorian University in Rome, and we both have traveled extensively to do research and visit experts in the fields we work in. We have done workshops, lectures and retreats on many of the topics found on this website.

E-Mail Address: arraj@innerexplorations.com

Phone Calls

Do you need to talk to a real live person? Try calling us at 541-851-1534.

Just what is Inner Explorations?
It is a place where Christian mysticism, theology and metaphysics meet Eastern religions, Jungian psychology and a new sense of the earth. Another way of putting it is that we are trying to discover something of the wisdom of the Christian mystical, theological and metaphysical traditions, and bring them into living contact with these other areas.

How do you go about doing this?
For the most part, we work in areas that have already deeply engaged us. It starts off personal. We are trying to live out one of these paths, and along the way we do a lot of studying, contacting knowledgeable people, and finally trying to express what we have seen, and make it available. It sounds simple, but it can get complicated.

Give us an example.
Quite a while ago we developed a deep personal interest in Jungian psychology. We found it invaluable for understanding ourselves, and so it became a very real part of our daily lives. But then we had to ask ourselves just how it related to our Christian faith. We needed to see how these two parts of our lives fit together.

So Inner Explorations is not just a collection of books and videos. It is a way of living?
Exactly. Some people thrive on outer explorations like traveling, climbing mountains, doing archaeological digs, etc. We are fascinated by inner explorations into the depths of the human spirit.

Where does simple living fit into all of this, especially the fact that you live in the middle of a forest?
Simple living is the temenos, the protective surroundings, the best setting we could create in order to go on these inner journeys. We needed the time and freedom from constant interruptions to try to follow these paths.

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It sounds exciting.
It is, but it brings with it its own complications. Inner Explorer is not your usual job description. It took us a long time to find out what we were really about, and then to try to find a way to do it as a full-time occupation. In a very busy, extraverted world like we find in the U.S. it can sound unreal as if we are off in a corner avoiding life. Actually, it turned out quite the opposite. Living in the forest made all sorts of demands on us that we would never have had to face in suburbia, and our work brings us in contact with people from all over.

Money

The sale of books and videos goes towards but never quite reaches paying for the physical cost of producing them: print bills, catalogue mailings, video equipment, etc. No one has ever gotten paid for their time, not us, and not the people who have shared their knowledge in these various fields. The participants in the various videos, for example, have never received any royalties. This makes them a rather remarkable group of people, especially considering that they are among the top people in their fields.

Technology

We started off about as low-tech as you could get. After a first disastrous attempt to have someone typeset a book for us, we typeset the next twelve books on a Brothers EM-200 electronic typewriter with a three-page memory, which meant that we would final proof the three pages as we did them because there was no way to save them.

In 1989 we bought a Panasonic AG-450 S-VHS video camera and a Panasonic AG-1960 editing deck, and started doing videos without any video experience at all, and after eleven years without even a TV.

Lately we have upgraded the video equipment to a Sony DCR VX-1000 3-chip digital camera, and a Sony DHR 1000 editing deck. This is quite a step up, for the camera is smaller and lighter, and therefore much easier to travel with, and takes better pictures which can then be edited digitally.

We hope our next book will be done on the computer that this Web site has been created on, which is a Sony Pentium II 233Mhz with a Sony Trinitron monitor Multiscan 200sf. This was a long step, too, because it was our first computer. The Web site was created using Microsoft FrontPage 98.

Recently we have been doing the book and video production on our Sony VAIO laptop, editing the videos with Adobe Premiere Pro. We also have been printing the books locally. See Print Your Own Book

Audio and Video

The audio clips and the occasional video clips to be found throughout this site have been done with RealPublisher. Don't be surprised if the video looks bad.

When we are in the forest, the typesetting and video work, and most of the audio and video duplications, are powered by our solar panels.

Independence

We like to do things for ourselves, even to the point of beginning to drive ourselves crazy! We wrote and published, filmed and edited, all the books and videos in the catalog while living in a house we built ourselves, and working with the electricity from our solar panels. But things don't always go smoothly. Here are two examples of the many fixes we continually get into, one is about Self-Publishing Perils, as well as Print Your Own Book, and the other is about trying to get Our First Computer in order to build this website. But the moral of these stories is to keep on going.

A Black History of Jamaica, New York In 1970-71 we both worked at different jobs in Jamaica, New York, in a largely black community. These reflections on the black history of Jamaica were written then.

The Arraj and Sayegh Family Trees

An Ancient Indian Mathematical Artifact?

Inner Explorations is a part of Inner Growth Books and Videos, LLC.

Copyright 1998.

This whole site is copyrighted, but we invite people who want to use parts of it in school and church settings without cost to contact us.

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