It took me fifty-six trips around the sun to become worthy of sharing these words.
They are the fruit of a sincere search for meaning in a sublimely beautiful and inescapably dangerous universe… written by a serious student of life who has been brought to tears by Beethoven’s Ode to Joy and Pol Pot’s killing fields… and whose formative experiences have earned him the right… and demand of him the responsibility… to speak.
Constituting everything I think I know about life, each meditation began as an honest, but not always successful, attempt to define and solve my problems of daily existence. Born of confusion, anxiety, resentment, fear, frustration, shame, despair, grief, and loneliness… each page slowly took shape… from tentative smatterings on scraps of paper… to where they are today… still incomplete, still containing more questions than answers, but hopefully a few steps closer to embracing the mystery of life with all of its possibilities, joys, and sufferings.
While originally intended for my eyes only, I share them now for three reasons: Out of concern for the next generation, wishing that I had been taught these life-affirming truths when I was a young man… As a moral imperative to confront so many false gods that remain sources of ignorance, division, and violence… And in the spirit of solidarity, having discovered that what is authentically most personal is also authentically most universal.
You will find no sermons here. No pep talks. No promises. No saccharine platitudes. No recipes for happiness. Easy answers do no justice to the profound mystery and challenge of our existence. Life is hard… and leaves no room for warm and fuzzy fantasies about the nature of the universe and our place in it. These writings look that reality straight in the eye without pretensions… replacing a handful of certainties with a boatload of doubts.
These meditations are not for everyone. They are for those who have the freedom and desire to consider the meanings of their lives… for those who are humble enough to admit their ignorance, but curious enough to keep asking questions… for those who are honest enough to admit their imperfection… for those who are mature enough to reject all childish notions of God… and for those who have the courage to define their own values and the integrity to live accordingly.
While sobering, I hope you find these pages to be therapeutic, liberating, and empowering. I hope they inspire you to live with a new-found gusto… with an audacity, compassion, humility, courage, and amplitude that honors your unique endowment of time, blessings, burdens, and passions.
Finally, I decided to publish these words only after I could honestly answer “yes” to two critical questions. First, do I truly believe all that I have written? Second, am I making a sincere (not to be confused with perfect) effort to walk my talk? That said, I offer you a disclaimer, a confession, and an invitation. While I am about affirm many things with unapologetic enthusiasm and conviction, I make no claims to moral superiority, divine authority, or sainthood. I fail to walk my talk in many ways, big and small, almost every day. Please forgive my imperfections and walk with me for a while.