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The Sun Magazine

Essays, Memoirs, and True Stories

Living Through A Spiritual Emergency

Above the cluttered registration tables, above the hundreds of swarming bodies, a banner strung between two oak beams declares this to be the First Annual International Conference Of The Spiritual Emergence Network. Considering my disorientation and my rising sense of anxiety, I might as well be thirteen and at summer camp again. I want to bolt, back to the Monterey airport, back to the known.


When fear of death overwhelms you, take a close look at your life. I learned that years ago, and I’m willing to do it now. But this sense of danger can’t be reduced to psychology. Two and a half months after the October 1989 earthquake, the seismographs registered 105 tremors in one week.

The Perils Of Self-Realization

However one may conceive the relationship between the individual self, or “I,” and the Universal Self, it is crucial to distinguish between the Self in its essential nature — what has been called our “center,” or “deeper being” — and the little self, or “I,” usually identified with the ordinary personality, of which we are normally conscious.


A Meeting

As it has off and on for the last ten days, Rabbi Aaron Feltman’s head is thumping with pain.


The present chapter in her life started on the steps of the Chicago Art Institute late one morning when she saw that the stone lion on the north side of the steps was God. She couldn’t have told you why, or how she knew that it was God, but she understood it in a way that implicated her whole being.

The Path of God

My current landlord is an atheist; he rejects outright my theological propositions. He does his best to counter my cosmology, speaking of logical fallacies, and asserts instead a kind of humanist worldview, elevating man alone to creator, redeemer, savior. But he ignores the central matter of faith; his reasoning cannot account for its energizing power. Our arguments lead to nothing: he speaks of mathematics, I speak of meaning. We only talk, and talk some more; the very languages we employ cannot be bridged or translated.

*NOTE: Original copies of this issue are no longer available. Unbound, laser-printed copies will be provided for print orders.

Readers Write


When I was twelve, my parents put me in a Swiss boarding school. It was the year my breasts appeared, the year I read True Confessions under the covers with a flashlight, the year I first received letters from a boy, the year I finally caught up with my more precocious friends and began to bleed.

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“Illness is the most heeded of doctors. To goodness and wisdom we make only promises; pain we obey.”

Marcel Proust

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