Actively Dying

Truth is one. Sages call it by different names. ~ Rig Veda

“How do you get closer to your god?” I would ask just about everyone I met on my five-year trip around the world.

If someone got hung up on the G word, I’d rephrase, “What makes you feel more spiritual, connected, at one?” These questions were a surefire way to have a real conversation since they led people to talk about something important in their lives. I would ask and then listen, and others would do the same. My sample size was broad; I was able to ask this question of fellow travelers, monks, nuns, babas, lamas, sisters, bruthas, swamis, deacons, zen masters, chai wallahs, taxi drivers….

As I talked with people and listened to their answers, I began to hear common themes and realized that there are, in essence, some basic categories of techniques and practices with which people build and maintain a healthy relationship with their god. If each person’s answer were a dart, the darts formed clusters as they landed. The darts’ similarities define the clusters more than their differences. While every cathedral in Europe is unique in its architectural details, fundamentally they are all cathedrals with similar floor plans and utility. The same applies to sacred texts: when people answered that they found solace in the Quran or the Bible or Jack Kerouac’s On the Road, the differences in the texts’ messages were insignificant compared with the fact that the readers found truthiness in the words.

Actively Dying is part of my story.