It has been said that we are born with all the tools we need to become enlightened in this lifetime. That may be true but I have noticed as someone who grew up and raised a family in this society that the same old "solutions" – the ones that have been applied by one group after another throughout history – aren't working. The "wisdom" we were taught to follow and the institutions we were taught to support don't seem to be able to deal with the many society-wide crises we have before us. One leads to another and they multiply. We seem to be stuck in a perpetual fire drill rather than moving forward by finding and transcending causes. Is there a pattern we can use to identify the next hot spot before it explodes into a fire? Is there a single cause underlying all the crises? What is going on?
We suffer from the fallout or fear their impacts, however the crises are just the most visible parts of the problem. The core is hidden. Nevertheless, the crises permeate our daily lives and build on one another so the overall impact is huge. Crises are like symptoms that indicate the disease. You don't cure a disease by treating only symptoms. By the same token, you can't eliminate the crises until you heal the system that gave rise to them in the first place.
Specific details of each crisis help shape the resolution of that crisis, however, they aren't very helpful in seeing the overall pattern – of discerning the forces that shape one crisis after another. Noticing the pattern is the first step toward healing the system and curing the disease. Step back to discern the pattern and see its rhythms and shapes.
In this regard, the attitudes of clear-eyed honesty and self examination are useful. These traits are exercised most consciously in science but by no means are they restricted to science. Nor is it true that all so-called scientists practice honesty or self examination.
This book brings together different elements from different traditions. The only criterion is whether a certain element can help. Remarkably, the helpful elements all fit together regardless of which tradition they came from. Elements practiced in physics or psychology may be found along side elements from meditation, religion, or art. They all work together in surprising ways to reveal cohesive insights and healing, thus supporting growth and allowing for greater freedom and joy.
There are 50 short chapters, all focusing on different aspects of your internal truth. They build on various insights and illuminate different ways of thinking as they invite you to notice yourself experiencing life. The chapters are relatively short on the page but are open-ended. You are free to do with them what you will. It is not necessary to follow a meditation to its conclusion in one sitting nor even to read the chapters in a certain order. If one chapter jumps out or you feel drawn to deepen a single meditation over several sessions or to bring it back later in the course of life, please feel free to do so. The insights and ways of thinking are tools to be used in any way that you feel is right.
The goal is for each person to explore and express his or her own truth. We all have this truth within us. It is something that no one and nothing can give you. It is something waiting for you to discover and articulate for yourself. The hope is that the tools in this book might be useful in that exploration. You decide. This is no less than what we all did when we were small children but the goal we have as adults is to bring together the experience of an adult with the wonder of a child.
Dare to explore the world and yourself as a child. Explore it openly, without agendas. How does open exploration change your experience? Laugh easily and honestly. The open inquisitiveness of a child coupled with the experience, language, and patience of an adult is a powerful combination. Be powerful. Be you, not what someone else has taught you to be. Be you.