Awake in the World

There’s a deep common core to humanity so that when something touches one of us it touches all of us.” – Mark Nepo

“If I go far enough inside of me, I find you.” – Mark Nepo 

In an intimate setting at the Sophia Institute in Charleston, South Carolina, Mark Nepo sat in the salon of the historical house speaking gently and softly of the challenges and paradoxes of life. Since he became a favorite of Ophrah, his book, The Book of Awakening, shot up on The New York Times bestseller list. He marvels at how the book took on a life of its own eleven years old after it was initially published. It defied obscurity when one of Ophrah’s assistants who heard passages in her yoga class offered it to her as a gift. Since then Mark’s book made Ophrah’s Favorites List and they have talked together in interviews. Nepo has faced many life challenges with elegance and grace. As a cancer survivor and someone whose work has shot to fame I asked him, “How did you manage to keep your head?”

His response was clear, resounding, profound and simple. “By coming from the heart.”

This is the kind of wisdom, inspiration and sensibility that he shares both in writing and in person. “This has been a total blessing,” Nepo said. “I never expected anything like this.” And yet, he said, it is like one of the paradoxes he considers in his books. “All of this has changed my life and nothing has changed in my life. Inside where I write and touch the world nothing has changed. I can feel the pull of the world and my initial response to that is to set my anchor deeper.”

His next book, due out in October 2012 is Seven Thousand Ways to Listen: Staying Close to What Is Sacred. It’s inspired by the seven thousand languages in the world. He says that discovering that number of languages worldwide inspired him to realize that there must be seven thousand ways to listen. It’s guided by the question, “How do we listen into what we don’t know?”

As he read some of his work, one of the people in the small gathering asked Mark about the deeper meaning. He gave the context of a poem one of which came from walking out in the parking lot and accidentally breaking a carton of eggs. But, he says, “We need each other to discover the meaning. I may write it, but readers help to discover the deeper sense.”

Nepo’s humility and wisdom inspire deeply. Being in his presence is a way to reconnect with that inner sacred place of the spirit. Nepo presents workshops around the U.S. and has one upcoming at The Sophia Institute May 11 to the 13th and also October 26 to the 28th at Omega.

Bio: Debra Moffitt is author of Awake in the World: 108 Practices to Live a Divinely Inspired Life. A visionary, dreamer and teacher, she’s devoted to nurturing the spiritual in everyday life. She leads workshops on spiritual practices at the Sophia Institute and other venues in the U.S. and Europe. Her mind/body/spirit articles, essays and stories appear in publications around the globe and were broadcast by BBC World Services Radio. She has spent over fifteen years practicing meditation, working with dreams and doing spiritual practices. Visit her online at

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