Life on the road with a rock band: memories blur, cities blend. Only in the frenzy of performance does the world pause
The great escape
Digital technology allows us to lose ourselves in ever more immersive fantasy worlds. But what are we fleeing from?
The death of my father
When someone close to you dies, the very fabric of your life is ripped to shreds. Is philosophy any consolation?
The manly loaf
There's nothing so atavistic and satisfying in the morning as sinking your hands into a sticky, bubbling live sourdough
How wonder works
One emotion inspired our greatest achievements in science, art and religion. We can manipulate it – but why do we have it?
The wisdom of gardens
Gardens expand our thinking. At times of crisis they console, school us in emotional generosity, and show us that life goes on
Ladder to heaven
I have turned away from the church but, up on Mount Athos, I turned on to the mysteries of Orthodox meditation
I had a phobia of anyone hearing me play the piano. With practice, could my memory help me overcome it?
The art of attention
The peculiar vividness of the world becomes clear when we slow down and attend, learning to see all things anew
Eduard Bersudsky chose to be mute in Soviet days. Ever since, his moving musical sculptures have done the talking
At the Seder
It must have been one of the last Passovers to be celebrated by the Jews of Damascus, before the last families left
Is yoga a religion?
Evangelical Christians in California tried to ban yoga in schools. So where is the line between the body and the soul?
City life is a constant, maddening hum. Only in a place like the Sahara can we hear the nothingness that revives
A sublime contagion
The Gothic is more than vampires and flying buttresses, burgundy lips and black lace: it is the thrill of transgression
Stories in the night
Insomnia brings many gifts — the noises of the night, the twist of narrative, and a stolen march on time
Seeing and believing
UFO sightings are down. Ghosts are in decline. Are we more discerning now, or just afraid to trust anything?
Free will and fate are both illusions. The trick is learning to sail with the prevailing winds of life
Tango mi amor
While we are in the arms of another and the music sings of time, and chance passing, we are in the eye of the storm
The science of love
We each carry an intricate machinery of love, calibrating and attuning our moods and bodies to one another
The sculptor would carve me a wooden figure. In exchange, I would show my ritual gratitude. What could go wrong?
Papering over the cracks
An historic building brings a personal awakening: the past lives on in us, neither forgotten, nor preserved in aspic
Tears of sorrow, tears of joy, tears of incontinence or of ecstasy. Crying must mean something – but what?
Just after my father died an uncanny diving encounter with a giant sailfish spoke to me of life’s mysterious connections
Why wait for the loss of hearing to appreciate sound? Turn off the white noise of your thoughts and start to listen
One warm line
The life well-lived, the path well-walked, each full of loops and weavings, until a person maps their patch of earth
The dead are no longer welcome at their own funerals. So how can the living send them on their way?
Trickster and tricked
All gurus try to undermine their followers' egos and expectations, so does it matter if the teacher is a real fraud?
The ice inferno
Without night or day, and the sun spinning slowly in a cold sky. Could you stand the mental hypothermia?
The wanderer stilled
Leaving Europe as a young woman, Martine Batchelor was transformed by an encounter with Buddhist meditation
At the altar
Going to an art gallery is like going to church — a spiritual experience. But what makes a painting worthy of veneration?