1. THE MYSTERY OF OUR BEING For many years, a new worldview has been forming intuitively in the hearts and minds of people around the world. Though this emerging picture of our place in the universe has not been fully articulated, it is based on a central perception that we have capacities for a greater life than most of us have realized-a life that seems essentially joined with the evolution of the universe itself. We sense this connection, many believe, because we and the world are unfolding from the same transcendent source and are secretly moved to manifest more and more of our latent divinity. THE EVIDENCE OF EXPERIENCE The awakenings that inspire this view of the world, which come to us in many ways, can be enriched by reading various philosophers, scientists, saints, and sages who have opened new perspectives on human nature and the universe. As we shall see, the visions and practices of these pathfinders are available now in great abundance. However, the intuitions and insights that most typically lead us to a sense of our unfulfilled capacities and their relation to the Transcendent come not from books but from direct experience. For many, such openings come during prayer or meditation. For some, they arrive through counseling or other activities designed to help us through difficulty. But just as often they appear when we least expect them-at play, at work, or in moments of reverie. But no matter what the moment's trigger was, or its hidden roots, our ordinary way of being in the world suddenly blossoms into the extraordinary. We might be walking in the woods on a summer day with sunlight streaming through the trees when everything is seen in a new way. Colors seem richer. Trees and bushes stand out with a more vivid presence. Sounds are magnified and we smell fragrances we hadn't noticed before. The woods are suddenly magic and alive. In that instant, we enter a world that is usually unseen. Was it hallucination? Or is this how the world would always look if our senses were more developed? There are other kinds of experience that call us beyond the familiar. Have you ever sensed a friend's thought before she said it or known who would soon call on the phone? Even if such events seem trivial, they point to powers we tend to neglect. Have you ever pictured a significant turn in your life and been amazed when it actually happened? When such things occur, we are filled with a sense of something uncanny-a higher intelligence, a destiny that wants to be actualized in us. And there are awakenings that are stranger still. Some involve contact with a distant or deceased loved one-through an urgent whispering in the night, a fleeting vision, a fragrance unique to the loved one, or an immediate and disturbing sense of his or her nearness. Several recent Gallup polls have shown that more people than we think have experiences such as these, as well as glimpses of luminous worlds beyond the range of our physical senses. And there are moments even more compelling when our very identity shifts and we are lifted to a larger, more encompassing sense of our self. We know more than ever before who we really are and what we are meant to do. We and the world share a common end, a secret source, and a mighty journey. Sadly, though, these moments pass. A veil drops. We return to our normal awareness. But we cannot entirely forget such awakenings, however brief they may have been. Even as their memory fades, we are haunted by them. Again and again they whisper to us, reminding us that more awaits us. What larger life do they reveal? Is our present existence all we are meant for? What greater destiny do we and the world share? In the chapters that follow, we will explore such awakenings and ways in which we can follow their lead. For it is the case, we believe, that they begin to reveal a greater life pressRedfield, James is the author of 'God and the Evolving Universe: The Next Step in Personal Evolution' with ISBN 9781585421374 and ISBN 1585421375.