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Book Review: "The Little Book on Meaning: Why We Crave It, How We Create It" by Laura Berman Fortgang

by Ruby Bayan - 04/27/09

The Little Book on Meaning is literally a little book but actually a huge quest on meaning. How do you put meaning in your life? Why and where do you find it? Profound questions that Laura Berman Fortgang answers with five words all beginning with M: Mystery, Minister, Magnificence, Mind, and Mystic.

Fortgang elaborates on how knowing does not always provide meaning. She explains that one of the best ways to find meaning in our lives is to give of ourselves to others. She also opens our eyes to the beauty of the world around us and within ourselves. By shutting our mouths and meditating, she says, we create a blankness that becomes the core of our life meaning. And by opening our minds to a higher level of consciousness and interconnectedness, “the worldly self and the spiritual self work as one.”

Laura Fortgang’s impact in this book comes from her personal experiences and challenges in life. She shares her bouts with depression and self-doubt, as well as her journey from darkness into light. Her insights into discovering meaning are drawn from her own transformations. She relates memorable and life-changing episodes that revealed special significance in her path from ordinary person to life coach to interfaith minister.

The Little Book on Meaning requires a slow and introspective read. It’s not one that should be browsed or read in one sitting. Fortgang divulges her life’s challenges, which we can easily relate to, but dovetails them with involved and pensive insights, which need to be deeply reflected on. Searching for meaning is a huge endeavor; this Little Book is the best place to start.

[P.S. I had goose bumps when I read page 143 of Laura's book where she described how she coped while in the throes of deep depression. She said it was the time to find something to be thankful for. And she started by being thankful that she has ten fingers and toes. For a second I felt a connection because back in 1999, I wrote this piece: Count Your Blessings where I shared "a little secret."]

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