The author, a successful business person and mother, came to the decision that she had to find the answer to THE BIG QUESTIONS in order to explain them rationally to her young daughter. The four big questions of life. Why are we here? What is the meaning of life? What happens when we die? And is there a God? Shouldn't be hard for a rational, driven, very intelligent person to answer, right? One should be able to do it in less that a year. I really like her reasoning on why she had to search. "Religiously and spiritually speaking, nothing I had experienced thus far was a perfect fit. I was walking barefoot, so to speak. Not because I wanted to, but because I had a closet full of uncomfortable shoes."
Kumar gives it her all. She examines SO many different religions and beliefs, traveling all over the world in her search. And it takes longer than she initially thought, years longer.
She tries faith healers, Wiccans, sweat lodges, crazy hallucinogenic drugs, yoga, even the Burning Man festival. And, rather than finding the "right" answer, she finds a little bit of knowledge in each one. To quote her again, "I started thinking about how one of the big product attributes of religion is that it gives us hope. That hope is firmly embedded in the thought that if there is more, then we actually matter." Combining all her findings, she comes to a sense of peace.
In the end, she comes back to one of her original religions, Jainism. Which states that no single person can have ownership or knowledge of absolute truth. You have no choice but to respect differences. And respect for differences leads to greater harmony.
I like that. And until the time we come to the end of our lives and find out what, if anything, is next, that is a good principle to live by.
I received this book from NetGalley, in return for a fair and honest review. This one was easy. Out of a hundred or so books that I have read and reviewed this year, it is absolutely in my top five. And it will be sticking with me for a long, long time!