This paperback contains a treasure trove of personal stories, salutary advice, warnings, credos, cultural commentary, and creative suggestions for soulful living. The author of the best-selling Fire in the Belly is a veteran workshop leader on relationships, men's spiritual issues, and personal mythology. This impressive and inspiring volume is Keen's magnum opus, a resource overflowing with deep wisdom and down-to-earth practicality. It provides a helpful road map to those spiritual seekers who are exploring alternatives to conventional religion and the dead-end of secularism.
According to Keen, we are living "in the middle of the Great Paradigm War, a worldwide conflict between three mythic systems the technological-economic myth of progress, authoritarian religion, and the emerging spiritual worldview." The author points out the drawbacks of the first two mythic systems and then explores the third. It is the widespread search for the sacred within the precincts of everyday life. People who have embarked on this journey are interested in finding meaning, purpose, joy, and creativity in love, family, work, community, and their relationships with the earth.
While other authors approach these grand and difficult subjects armed only with abstractions, Keen grounds his coverage of the material with fascinating anecdotes from his 62 years as a philosopher, spiritual pilgrim, intellectual outlaw, son, husband, father, lover, citizen, writer, and workshop leader. He sees his life as a sacred text and admonishes us to do the same.
Keen wears a silver question mark on a chain around his neck to remind him daily of "the need to allow questions to enter and be exhaled as naturally as breath." He challenges us to monitor our desires and to listen to our dreams. Wonder plays a major role in spiritual development and so does reason. Keen hurrahs them both.
His respect for the mysteries of God, self, and the universe leads the author to criticize fundamentalists, New Agers, and technocrats for trying to rob the world of its enchantments. Keen has a healthy awareness of the evil afoot in the post-modern world and in the recesses of his own psyche.
This writer has always been in the forefront of those who espouse a natural and fruitful link between sexuality and spirituality. His celebration of the senses also extends to the natural world and to the value of animals in our lives. While many cultural commentators have covered the need for a revival of interest in community, Keen lets some fresh air in on the subject with his comments on local saints and consecrated neighbors.
A final chapter on the necessity of sanctifying our days with meaningful rituals is especially appealing. Faith, for Sam Keen, is "dancing in the dark" and so he does with delightful reveries on dreaming, adoration and devotion, creating sanctuaries, and designing your own credo. Hymns to an Unknown God addresses the most important question of our time how to awaken spirit in everyday life and encourages readers to make the discovery themselves.