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Excerpted from It's a Meaningful Life by Bo Lozoff. Copyright © 2000 by Bo Lozoff. Excerpted by permission of Penguin Putnam, Inc.  All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.  HTML and web pages copyright © by SpiritSite.com.

"Are we deeply fulfilled? Do we feel our lives have a clear sense of purpose? Do we see our place in the great scheme of things?"

Bo Lozoff
It's a Meaningful Life
, Part 1

You and I live in an age when the ordinary seems extraordinary: to take time to watch the sun rise, to enjoy a peaceful cup of tea while listening to music, to eat breakfast or dinner with all the members of our family together at one time (and actually enjoy each other's company). Such simple, human moments are romanticized in commercials for their nostalgia value because they have become so rare today.

And we live in an age when the extraordinary seems ordinary: a relentless pace that would bring Alexander the Great to his knees; a level of materialism and creature com-forts that would exceed Cleopatra’s wildest dreams; a degree of self-absorption that would make Narcissus blush. Tens of millions of us who can’t keep up, or who become understandably confused or depressed, are prescribed powerful drugs to help us fall back into place. This is not just extraordinary, it is incredible.

In our era, even ancient spiritual practices may be used not so much for touching the sacred but for reducing stress so that we can keep up a truly soul-destructive, frenetic level of activity. Americans, for example, turn to disciplines like meditation or yoga more often through the advice of their doctors than through the teachings of sages.

When we dare to slow down and ask ourselves some probing questions, how well do our answers satisfy us? Are we deeply fulfilled? Do we feel our lives have a clear sense of purpose? Do we see our place in the great scheme of things? Do we have confidence in the future of our society?. Most of us are certainly not lazy; we expend a tremendous amount of effort in many directions. But toward what ends?

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