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The Sun Magazine

Religion and Philosophy

Afterlife

Essays, Memoirs, and True Stories

Luck Disguised As Ordinary Life

My fortieth birthday was approaching like a tidal wave. I was single, childless, and questioning my life as a performance artist with a cult following but no steady income. I lacked the requisite evidence of adulthood: a couch, a dining-room table, a matched set of dishes, a color television. Although I tried to convince myself that this was because I had recently separated from a lover who owned nearly all of the furniture and electronic devices I had used for seven years, I knew the real problem was that I’d dedicated my life to my work and I wasn’t getting famous fast enough. There were no book contracts, no movie deals, no television appearances coming my way. I needed help, a map to guide me through the midlife moonscape of defeat.

Essays, Memoirs, and True Stories

Facing A Few Of The Facts

What are you going to do? I mean really: what are you going to do? Do you actually believe anything is going to stop the drift toward disaster? The drift of an entire planet? Do you actually believe we’re going to be saved? Everything is heading straight to hell, the whole thing is falling apart, the whole world is going insane. Do you really believe all this can be halted or reversed? It’s too late, it’s all over. Just dig it.

Essays, Memoirs, and True Stories

Cosmic Mysteries, Cosmic Hype

A Hard Look At The New Age

There is no “new age,” or every age is a “new age.” Every randomly defined period of history is (of course) “new” when it is happening; yet all periods of history are subject to the eternal return of events and meanings. If we try to name the features by which observers declare a present new age, we find only some of the oldest and most conservative human activities: millennialism, the sacred earth, channeling and mediumship, communication with nonhuman entities, ritual participation in food and medicine, faith healing, and shamanism. These were also hallmarks of the so-called Sixties revival, a new age which was partially eclipsed by the materialism of the late Seventies.

Essays, Memoirs, and True Stories

Journey Into Zen

Zen is a religion for adults, although even adults have a hard time getting the hang of it. Children don’t need to understand it because they live it. That’s a paradox — a Zen paradox. In the perfect world of logic, paradoxes can’t exist. But in real life, they flourish. And Zen is, more than most religions, here-and-now oriented. It has to be: for Zen, there is no hereafter.

Essays, Memoirs, and True Stories

Roses On Fire

Feeling my way toward some understanding of the mystery of death, I find that I must begin by talking about my mother. She was my beginning, at least in this life. Her appearance in my room immediately after she died in a hospital, one-hundred-eighty miles away, was the only time I can say with certainty that I interacted with a “ghost” while I was wide awake.

Editor's Note

Time Out

I start the day with coffee again. Or did I start it when I opened my eyes? When I stopped dreaming? When my daughter started her day, and began to cry? My wife is out of bed and across the room in one fluid motion, returning with Mara in her arms, and the three of us lie in the bed Mara was born in, just a year ago. Not a bed, really, just a foam mattress on the floor — but our bed, as this house is our home, these movements a morning, these days a life, our lives the pivot of creation, turning the raw stuff of the cosmos into a bed, a home.