Joseph Sharp lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and is a survivor of HIV/AIDS for almost 20 years. He's the author of Living Our Dying. In this ambitious work, Sharp sets out to delineate the sharp edges of spiritual maturity through 25 stories and reflective essays. What he has in mind is something quite different from our idealized images of feeling blissed out and standing above the messes and miseries of life.

One aspect of spiritual maturity is personal activism, which Sharp defines as "an inner call of recognition for your life to actively reflect and demonstrate the truth of who you are, the truth of your sacred individuality." Another is the ability to live with what Pema Chödrön has called our "innocent misunderstandings." Most of the time we are too hard on ourselves, drilling away at past mistakes and errors in judgment. As mature spiritual beings, we can learn from everything that has happened to us and use it as a resource for the journey ahead.

Other attributes of spiritual maturity covered here are discerning love from like, inviting fear to tea, resting in mystery, and embracing opposites and contradictions. Sharp wants us to "reclaim the largeness of God's ineffability -- to reclaim our own personal sense of awe." We especially enjoyed the chapter on forgiveness where Sharp makes the point that it cannot be rushed.

With just the right mix of personal anecdotes and reflective commentary, Sharp lances our spiritually correct ideas about maturity on the path of life and presents instead his own bold ideas.