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Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

No Such Thing As A True Story

In Taoism there’s a famous saying that goes, “The Tao that can be spoken is not the ultimate Tao.” Another way you could say that, although I’ve never seen it translated this way, is “As soon as you begin to believe in something, you can no longer see anything else.”

By Pema Chödrön January 2005
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

Called To Be Apart

My mother believed in miracles. She believed that faith could move mountains, that there is a divine plan for the universe, that Jesus never fails. My mother believed that if she was the best little girl in the world, nothing bad would ever happen to her.

By Emily Rogers April 2004

How To Prosper During The Coming Bad Years

In the summer of 1979, I fell ruinously in love with a coltish, athletically robust Greek girl of fifteen named Nicole Liarkos . When I think of her now (which isn’t very often), I always imagine her poolside, her creamy caramel skin twice bisected by the triple triangles of her buttercup yellow bikini, her left arm blocking the sun from her eyes.

By Marshall Boswell February 2002
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories


Ten minutes into a recent flight from San Jose to St. Louis, I was reveling in a first-class upgrade and a new Margaret Atwood novel when I felt and heard a powerful thump. The aircraft, which had been gaining altitude, rocked vigorously.

By Gillian Kendall February 2002
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

Excerpts From Path Without Destination

Possessions are signs of status, success, position, and power. It’s no wonder that our modern society has been called the consumer society. Unlimited economic growth has become the ideal of every nation in the world. In order to achieve such growth, we have destroyed lives, families, the social fabric, and our relationship with the natural world. We have passed the point of increasing human well-being by increasing material wealth.

By Satish Kumar August 1999
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

In Defense Of Original Sin

The Neglected Genius Of American Spirituality

Schooling was to be about the creation of loyalty to a principle of abstract central authority, and no serious rival — whether parents, tribe, tradition, self, or God — would be welcome in school. Corporate economics and the developing modern culture eliminated the other rivals, but it took the highest court in the land to bar God.

By John Taylor Gatto January 1998
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

Encounter Above Tintern Abbey

Then he let go of me, and the meaning of the poem was clear. This man had finally brought me inside of it. Both of us had somehow been given what we came for. On the trail down to the bridge I broke out in goose flesh.

By Stephen T. Butterfield June 1992
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories


At the age of two, I saw the ocean for the first time. I threw wide my short arms and ran shouting, straight into the Pacific, where an undertow reached out to embrace me. I still remember the upside-down whirlpool of warmth, like the womb out of which I’d so recently swum.

By Brenda Peterson April 1992
The Sun Interview

Renegade Priest

An Interview With Matthew Fox

We have to get back to that sense of raw reverence. And by reverence I don’t mean this bourgeois thing of nodding your head and being pious. Reverence comes from the word to revere, which means to stand in awe. The Bible has been mistranslated; where we read that wisdom begins with fear of the Lord, it should read awe. Awe is the beginning of wisdom.

By Michael Toms August 1991
Readers Write

The Moon

Seeing the moon from the desert, from the Ile de la Cite in Paris, from a starry camping night

By Our Readers July 1984