The “entirely different consciousness” to which Mr. Brown alludes in his diary, is the reality upon which I have staked my life.

An “entirely different consciousness” is the awareness that is required to enter into the possibility that there is a transcendent reality at the heart of all existence that gives meaning and value to all being. In my tradition we call this “entirely different consciousness” faith. The transcendent beauty, truth, and mystery faith affirms, we call “God.”

But Mr. Brown points out our culture, for the most part, has abandoned the idea of God.

We’ve replaced an all-knowing God, the authority that made the world mysterious, with the authority of ourselves – know-it-all pipsqueaks by comparison, who actually know nothing. Everything is accessible to us, but very little of it reaches into us. 48

Mr. Brown has found nothing really with which to replace this “all-knowing God.” Mr. Brown is, he declares in another context, “an atheist.”

Although, even that is a tiny bit too much metaphysical commitment for Mr. Brown and so he pulls back adding,

or at least not a believer.

Whether contemporary culture is willing to admit it or not, the loss of God, brings an unavoidable loss of meaning and human value.

Ian Brown speaks with great candor about the losses of aging, He acknowledges with some sadness the diminishment he is experiencing in his hearing ability.

I, of course, would give anything not to be going deaf, and can’t stop it.

But it is the lesson Mr. Brown draws from this loss that is tragic.

I fear I am no longer worth repeating things for. The prospect chills me. 105, 106

Unable to hear; he feels unworthy of consideration. He is plunging into a lonely world of growing isolation.

Getting older does actually seem to be a matter of becoming more and more solitary, until you are finally completely alone for the final implosion. I keep coming back to this. 192

Getting older is a process of getting lonelier and lonelier until, at the end, you are completely solitary, and then you are officially dead. 132

But what if there is something more to death than merely “the final implosion”? What if centuries of spiritual tradition cannot simply be dismissed as the delusional ravings of the minds of primitive people afraid to face the reality of their eventual annihilation? What if physical death is not an end but a glorious transition? What if, just as the infant in the womb cannot form an adequate vision of what comes after birth, we too lack a language to adequately embody the reality that transcends physical death?

What if, we do not need to spend “hours on end” fretting about how to “make my life mean something”?

This is what I think about for hours on end now: how do I make my life mean something? The horizon looms closer now, I don’t know how long I’ve got. None of us do. None of us have much control over our lives, over where they will end up, over how they will end. This is why we are afraid of uncertainty, of the disabled, the frail, the fragile, the needy: they remind us of our own disabilities, uncertainty, frailty. 163, 164

What if that the uncertainty and fragility of the human condition in fact exist to help us open to the possibility of a reality deeper, more abiding, and more true than the transient frailty of this material realm? What if the meaning of life is inherent in life itself and there is in fact nothing to prove, nothing to earn, nothing to achieve, only a gift to receive and a deep mystery to which we are designed to open? What if Life transcends every form in which it is manifest in this present material realm?

Perhaps Jesus was right when he proclaimed that

life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. (Luke 12:23)

What if there is something more to me than my ability to do and to impress and this something “more” transcends the grave and lives in another timeless eternal realm in the presence of a Love that never ends?

My faith may be an illusion. But, I the illusion of inherent meaning, purpose, and light over a vision that leaves me with little to sustain me but the fear, guilt and regret that are an inevitable part of our journey through this mortal existence.