20 Questions, Age 28

Photo: oliphant

These questions are in response to a post on Brave New Traveler, asking readers to chronicle their current spiritual beliefs.

1. Why is there poverty and suffering in the world?

There is poverty and suffering because it serves as a catalyst for people to learn and grow. Buddhists would say it exists because of karmic debts that need to be repaid.

2. What is the relationship between science and religion?

Science is a secular religion that confirms much of what tradition already knows. The “knowing” gives meaning to human existence and our place in the world. The terms may be new, but the wisdom is old.

3. Why are so many people depressed?

People are depressed because they search for fulfillment in the wrong places. They are continually told, through media/society/peers to look somewhere other than themselves. They are distracted by external stimuli, rather than finding peace within.

4. What are we all so afraid of?

Being inconsequential. We’re terrified of dying and not leaving a mark on the world – which is an idea implanted by the same media/society/peers that keep us unhappy. When you realize inner peace, it’s no longer a question worth pondering.

5. When is war justifiable?

In universal terms, it is never justified. But in reality, it is justifiable to stop a direct threat to a person’s existence.

6. How would God want us to respond to aggression and terrorism?

God would want us to respond by examining what role each of us play in fanning the flames of terror and aggression. We all contribute to a climate of terror, and we can all choose not to perpetuate it.

7. How does one obtain true peace?

By realizing they don’t need anything to obtain it. All the elements already exist within.

8. What does it mean to live in the present moment?

It means to immerse yourself fully in every activity, no matter if it’s good or bad. By focusing on the experience, you bring your awareness and presence, which alters the present (and hence, the future).

9. What is our greatest distraction?

Trying to obtain external trappings of success. Being consumed by our own delusions of ego. Televison.

10. Is current religion serving its purpose?

Religion in many ways has become a means of indoctrination, rather than salvation. The gatekeepers for the religion are more concerned with money, control, and power, rather than actually promoting human understanding.

11. What happens to you after you die?

I don’t know. I suspect the experience is like passing into unconsciousness. Spiritually speaking, it would be nice to believe your “soul” joins back with the one-ness of the universe while maintaining some kind of individuality – an imprint of all your experiences in that incarnation.

12. Describe heaven and how to get there.

Heaven is simply a way of being in the present moment. Everyday becomes an exercise in creativity and beauty.

13. What is the meaning of life?

To help the universe know itself. That means each incarnation must grow and learn more about itself through achieving their full potential (enlightenment).

14. Describe God.

God is everything. It is the underlying presence that makes up all things. To glimpse God is to feel the interconnectedness of all things, which manifests as the emotion called Love.

15. What is the greatest quality humans possess?

The ability to apply conscious energy to create. We take matter and bend it to our will, for both good and evil.

16. What is it that prevents people from living to their full potential?

Fear, in all its forms.

17. Noverbally, by motion or gesture only, act out what you believe to be the current condition of the world.

18. What is your one wish for the world?

That everyone uses their lives to move one step closer to waking up (enlightenment). That they don’t waste this incarnation.

19. What is wisdom and how do we gain it?

Wisdom is the deep understanding that usually comes from direct experience. But we can also gain wisdom by listening to the direct experience of others, and applying that wisdom to our daily lives.

20. Are we all one?

We are all here for the same reason: to realize our full potential. We are all made from the same matter. It is our ignorance (personal and collective) that prevents us from seeing reality as it really is: that we are all one.

If you’d like to share your answers, read the BNT post here.


  1. Hi Ian,

    Enjoying your articles and your questions.

    I’m 43. When I was 23 I was a rookie Corrections Officer and was taken hostage in a 3 day prison riot.

    I stated asking questions, deeper questions than I had ever asked before.

    Seeking. Discovering.

    Not only seeking answers, but discovering better – more human – questions.

    Thank you for sharing yours,

    Mr. Twenty Twenty

    That guy who really did change his name to the number of perfect vision, helping you to live your vision now.

  2. Ian,

    I first read THIS POST and commented on it about 40 days ago. Since then, as an exercise I have been using ONE of your questions each day as a meditation.

    It’s been enlightening. I suggest that other readers try it.

    And remember, have fun with the Deep Stuff!

    Mr. Twenty Twenty

  3. wow really. wow. 28.. me too. I randomly clicked on your post and while I read just kept nodding my head. yep yep yep yep yep. lol. you write eloquently. Thanks for sharing. Its rare that to find people our age who have this insight or care to understand the whys of the world. relieving really.

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