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In today's fast-paced world marked by consumerism and competition, it can be difficult to slow things down and make room in our lives for spirituality. But it's not impossible, and spiritual activist Bo Lozoff has written It's a Meaningful Life to help guide spiritual seekers along the way. As a recognized spiritual leader whose lecture credits include hundreds of prisons, churches, universities, and spiritual centers all around the world, Lozoff has made his own spiritual journey and witnessed or been a part of thousands of others. He puts all that experience to good use as he tries to help others find joy and meaning in life while existing in the "fast lane." Lozoff introduces what he calls the "vast lane" and leads his readers on an inner journey of communion and an outer path toward community. It's a journey that explores many faiths and many trails and offers insights into Lozoff's own experiences as well as those of many others.
Underlying all of Lozoff's tenets and guidance is one primary principle: In order to live truly meaningful and spiritual lives we must be diligent in our spiritual practice, doing it every day. Reading, studying, and merely going with the flow are not enough; we must live the principles we embrace and put them to use on an ongoing basis. Not only does this daily diligence reinforce spiritual behavior, it serves as a reminder of who we are and what our lives are about -- or at least what we want them to be about. And spiritual practice is what It's a Meaningful Life is all about.
Lozoff presents some simple exercises that can be tried, studied, and evaluated by readers as they do their own spiritual work and move toward discovering what styles and practices are most productive for them. The goal for all, regardless of the path followed, is to find some balance between the mystical and sacred parts of life and those that are more pragmatic. Lozoff deals with both, addressing such real-life issues as desires, careers, and materialism and such spiritual issues as meditation, mantras, and prayer. He discusses how the object of change is sometimes less important than the process and points out that none of it is necessarily easy -- nor should it be, as the more difficulty we have in reaching some goals, the greater our joy and exhilaration are when we do.
Recognizing how monumental a task this can be for some, Lozoff takes readers along one step at a time, discussing ways to make the transition easier. Plus, he provides some advice and guidance on how to keep spiritual practice fresh and interesting once it's established, so as to heighten and enrich the experience. Throughout the book, Lozoff's perspective remains realistic and flexible enough to appeal equally to those who are zealously pursuing spirituality and those who are merely beginning to explore it. There is no emphasis on any one religion or belief; rather, Lozoff focuses on exploring connections with the forces of the world, whether those forces be an almighty deity and an organized religion or simply the whims and laws of nature.
Lozoff stresses the importance of kindness, of building a sense of community, and of helping and caring for one another. He advises giving something away every time you buy something new and avoiding material accumulation. He advocates a simple and altruistic way of life, believing that happiness, joy, and meaning are found not through objects or material possessions but through the process of living. He shuns the current focus on building self-esteem, believing that if we live right and let go of our self-absorption, self-esteem is gifted unto us, the natural by-product of a spiritually fulfilled life. In addition to addressing one's own behaviors and lifestyle, Lozoff discusses the need for more spiritual guidance and nurturing of our children. He also takes a turn at marriage, sharing some of the difficult times he and his wife have had and reflecting on how a spiritual awakening can strengthen a marital relationship.
Throughout It's a Meaningful Life, Lozoff provides simple practice sessions in the form of prayers, vows, guidelines, and activities. His evenhanded tackling of the subject matter makes this a useful handbook for anyone wishing to develop or expand a spiritual element in his or her life. His basic philosophy, of finding a balance between the pursuit of individual fulfillment and the obligations we bear to society, makes the goal of developing a spiritually meaningful and joyful life realistic and practical. And his hands-on practice sessions and guidelines serve as a map, one that makes the journey just a little bit easier.