A memoir of spiritual exploration in the form of dialogues.
“If I could architecturally design my life with an absolute end,” asks Megargee (Dirt, Truth, Music, and Bungee Cords, 2015) in this punchy, fast-paced work of nonfiction, “what should my objective be?” It’s these kinds of deep questions—who am I, where did I come from?—that drive this self-described “unconventional memoir.” The author’s six-year journey to deeper self-awareness takes him from Buddhist monks in Virginia to “an ageless oracle in Pennsylvania” to extended conversations with an otherworldly, disembodied “soul guide” whom he calls “Laz.” In a series of dialogues, Megargee quizzes Laz on all kinds of subjects. Throughout the book, the author depicts Laz as offering animated answers to his questions. Asked about the drastic effects of climate change, for instance, Laz says that the air is upset at being polluted and that “fire gets angry because it is not treated properly.” Most of these responses seem grounded in a crude kind of animism, in which the world is composed of the traditional “four elements,” which are sentient and entirely human in their emotional responses. As a result, massive storms are explained by the elements being angry or stressed, and a burst water main is said to occur because water is upset by the negative energies of nearby humans. Megargee somewhat counteracts these decidedly unscientific sections, though, with stronger, deeper discourses about forgiveness and “soul sins” that arise “when you taint something that is pure, good, and positive and place it in the dark.” In this respect, the book effectively dovetails with its predecessor, stressing an extremely personal element of self-help.
A series of often entertaining spirit-conversations that yields an attractive personal philosophy of mindfulness and compassion.