David White: Art, Religion, Science, Spirituality

Retiring at the age of 35 gives one time to reflect on what is truly important. After successful ventures in business, politics, and education, I devoted several years to study, travel, and spiritual practice. Meaningful experiences came and insights arose. Further insights emerged through interactions with participants in seminars and workshops given over the last twenty years. One insight is this: We tend to compartmentalize our lives, thinking separately about relationships, finances, health concerns, spiritual matters, career, sex, values, passions, goals, political views, group identities, finding pleasure, aesthetic interests, and on and on. At the living edge, however, where life happens, all these currents mingle and merge. To find meaning and live a fulfilling life requires that we discover how these separate currents can be prioritized and harmoniously integrated. The core motivations we humans have felt through the centuries have not changed much. The challenge is, as it has always been, to discover and put into practice wise responses to these motivations. In ancient Greece, the quest for this wisdom was exemplified by the admonition of Socrates: "Know Thyself." Two thousand years later mathematician, physicist, and philosopher Blaise Pascal said, "It is an extraordinary blindness to live without investigating what we are." Continuing this theme in the 20th century, the humorist James Thurber advised, "All human beings should try to learn before they die what they are running from, and to, and why." Four of the most valuable trails through the wilderness of life's confusion are: (1) Engagement with science; (2) Creating and experiencing art; (3) Following a religious tradition; and (4) Undertaking a spiritual journey. Although different on the surface, these four are not so different underneath. As Albert Einstein succinctly put it: "All religions, arts and sciences are branches of the same tree." This book explores these four branches of the tree of life: art, science, religion, and spirituality. Join me in an exploration of the commonalities between them and the guidance they each provide for a fulfilling and meaningful life.

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