One cold afternoon in 1975 in a small rented bedroom in Antwerp, the young Mormon missionary Craig Harline (Elder Harline in Mormon parlance) had a faith crisis—though it is not quite right to call it that.
There is at present a stream of good and interesting books on the Hebrew Bible’s King David, written by first-rate scholars. These books variously address historical and sociological questions concerning the rise of the monarchy in ancient Israel, but they tend to find most interesting the artistic offer of the narrative presentation.
The Deepest Human Life is an elegantly written, impassioned, and sometimes disjointed plea on behalf of philosophy. Scott Samuelson invokes poets, novelists, and theologians to defend the dialectical process that Socrates imparted.
I staggered through my house that morning, knowing I was out of coffee. I took multiple trips around the house looking for my shoes, finally settled for outrageously large climbing boots, then took multiple trips looking for my keys. I finally jumped on my motorcycle—adrenaline is a good substitute for endorphins when you get older—and broke many laws getting to the local caffeine clinic. Upon arriving I had the sinking realization that my man-purse was not in my backpack.
At this point all my training as a contemplative was out the window.
An increasing number of people are practicing meditation techniques while commuting to work. They focus on their breathing or on sights, sounds, and physical sensations to help keep them in the present. Denise Keyes takes the train to her job at Georgetown University. She says meditating prepares her for work. “I want to be compassionate and really listen to people. This helps me do that” (Washington Post, October 19).