As an accomplished memoirist, he turns his attention from his own story outward for this book and asks the question, is there an art to survival? Then, he proceeds to travel the world looking for stories and wisdom from regular people and from masters like Ram Dass. He is often in extraordinary relationships with these people; he was asked to interpret and write the book Ram Dass wrote after his stroke. He made sense of the difficult communications from Ram Dass and the result was, Still Here. There are conversations with Eckhart Tolle, Jungian pioneer James Hillman, Joan Didion, Byron Katie, Daniel Goleman, author of Emotional Intelligence, and many other fascinating people.
Importantly, he’s funny and not perfect! He’s so real while engaging with and interviewing all sorts of people and their stories that I looked forward to each chapter. He finds ways to communicate the truth of what concepts like forgiveness mean for real people in real situations. And then there’s uncertainty – how do some blossom while others fall apart or stay in a frozen limbo?
So, what’s in it for us? Why read about someone else’s challenges and fears? My answer would be that this book is about spiritual power and how to name it and experience it. As Ram Dass tells the author, “Behind the machinations of our brilliant, undependable minds is an essence that is not conditional, he says. “A being that aging does not alter, to which nothing can be added and from which nothing can be taken away.”
The opening question in the book is, “how do you live?” The following pages attempt to answer it while acknowledging the truth that transformation and epiphanies happen at the intersection of life and death. But seriously, it’s a fun read and I laughed often!