"I'm convinced that the great mystery fueling the universe is less concerned about moral doctrine and dogma than it is with relationship, and that any means for enriching sacred relationship is welcome. A spiritual practice is any discipline that calls us to attention, brings our truest self into being, and deepens our engagement with the numinous. If showing up for meditation at the zendo does this, great. If writing spiritual memoir does this, why not honor it?

"Write a metaphor that describes your spiritual journey. Perhaps it is like peeling the layers of an onion, walking a labyrinth, or wearing out a pair of shoes. Linger with your metaphor, allowing it to teach you about your spiritual journey.

"During my silent, intimate, early hours at the computer — even during small temper tantrums at whole paragraphs gone awry — I know, more clearly than at other moments, a divine presence at work. I recognize it when my hunches for syllables and sounds lead me to words I'm surprised are in my vocabulary. I recognize it at the end of a torturous draft when, after letting it sit for a week, I read through and am shocked by its vitality. I recognize mystery at work when the broken fragments of images and ideas are suddenly smoothed over by transitions, and a piece becomes healthy and plump. When I follow my literary hunches through a written story, I add another chapter to my own lived story. New Age writers might say that I'm channeling divine energy on to the page, but in my experience the opposite happens: The writing channels energy into my life so that, at the end of the piece, I'm more awake to the world and more responsive to myself than ever before. It's an awful lot like getting pregnant. On one level we know how a child is conceived, but on another, that spark of life baffles and humbles is. Bringing something from ourselves into being changes us. This new life gives us new life."