The more I am humbled and worn open by the mystery of experience, the more life becomes an inquiry into how the soul works in the world, and how by engaging our soul in the world, we are shaped by the endless practice of becoming the person we were born to be. From the moment we open our eyes, we are meaning-seeking creatures, looking for what matters though we carry what matters deep within us. And more than the hard-earned understandings we arrive at, more than the principles or beliefs we stitch together out of our experience, how we stay in relationship to the mysterious Whole of Life is what brings us alive and keeps us alive.
From The Book of Awakening on, I’ve tried to offer a whole picture of the human journey, speaking whatever I know of truth while believing in my heart that life, for all its difficulties, is uplifting. And I’ve been committed to keeping each other company on this timeless journey we’re all on, admitting that I have no answers. I believe we all seek this kind of company and find strength in it.
I believe everyone knows firsthand that life is messy and painful, beautiful and unpredictable, that we can’t make careers of good running from bad, or positive muffling negative, but that life is full of wonder and obstacle alike. I remain devoted to the truth of that wholeness. Even as I write this—as my wife Susan and I are grieving the death of our beloved dog Mira and I am still making sense of my father’s death this past year—I find myself in the endless practice of keeping my heart open to the whole of it. And the journey of becoming who we were born to be never ends. It’s limitless, eternal. We don’t arrive—we grow.
Throughout the evolution of my books, I’ve worked to expand our felt understanding of the totality of the human experience, to affirm our innate knowing of this.
With the subtitle of The Book of Awakening—having the life you want by being present to the life you have—I began to discover the beautiful secret that there is nowhere to go. All we need and dream of is right here before us, within us. With The Exquisite Risk, I offered the sense that risk is not “negative” but necessary, beautiful and enlivening. With Unlearning Back to God, I explored the notion that by reclaiming and reawakening the gifts we’re given, resilience and peace are possible. Through all my books, I’ve been a witness to the mysterious truth that living with an open heart and bringing our being and doing together to form care is endless: waking, risking, finding courage, finding our way back to an innate sense of God, and simply but deeply listening. And now, I arrive at my new book The Endless Practice, the unfolding that never stops, the ever-growing journey of becoming who we were born to be.
Mark Nepo will lead a workshop and book signing on September 29 at 7pm.