Lee Kravitz is adrift.
Shaken deeply after 9/11 and the loss of his job, he begins to feel the pull toward rediscovering his spirituality—a yearning long-buried since young adulthood. But in this he’s alone—his wife doesn’t understand why their family life can’t provide what he needs, and his friends can’t relate. When he suffers what he thinks is a heart attack and finds himself calling out for God, Lee realizes he must take action, whatever the cost.
In Pilgrim, Lee’s journey takes him to many places—from the quiet reflection of Buddhist meditation groups and Quaker meetings to the joyous noise of Hindu ecstatic chanting sessions and a candlelit Christmas Eve mass—until he finds a place where he feels he’s finally found the community he has sought. Along the way, he strives to reconcile his needs and beliefs with those of his family, knowing that he may be risking their bond.
In documenting his quest to pursue a contemplative life in the chaos of everyday existence, Lee offers a blueprint for anyone who might find himself lost at one point or another. Spanning areas of faith from Judaism to Protestantism to Nada yoga, the book also explores the latest research on the effects religion and God have on our brains, emotions, and health.
A thoughtful, stirring blend of memoir, religion, and science, Pilgrim is an engrossing narrative that speaks to the universal need to feel connected to the world around us.
In his mid-50s, journalist and memoirist Kravitz (Unfinished Business) set off on a self-described "spiritual shopping expedition." Though raised Jewish, Kravitz's last extended sojourn into spirituality had been in college, and he was now married to an atheist who did not understand his desire for a richer spiritual life. This predictable memoir chronicles Kravitz's two years of "shopping for God": attending Quaker meeting with a neighbor; taking a class called "Foundations of Self-Healing and Contemplative Life," which explored the Four Noble Truths; dipping into devotional chant. Along the way, friends get cancer and his aunt dies, bringing mortality home. This "long and winding road" ultimately leads Kravitz to the Jewish Renewal movement. He lands in a small progressive Jewish community near his apartment on the Upper West Side. His wife does not wholly join in, but does take a challah-making workshop and begins preparing Shabbat dinners. It is okay, he concludes in anodyne fashion, if his kids don't become religious, as long as they lead "empathic, meaning-filled lives."