MY NAME IS Michael, and I am an accountant, a writer, a father, a recovering alcoholic, a partner, a friend, and many other things besides. Setting aside these labels and descriptions, I am simply a human being. More important than this is the idea that I am a human who is being. This distinction lies at the heart of the famous question posed by William Shakespeare. Whether we choose to be or not to be is a far deeper issue than I had ever imagined.

I have come to understand that beneath the strong sense of self that has shaped my life so far there lies a tiny, universal spark of life, which is the true essence of who I really am. There are many different words used throughout the world that try to capture the true nature of this inner self, but ultimately they all fall short, because they attempt to describe the indescribable. The word that I have chosen to use is spirit, which in turn gives rise to the notion of spirituality. Aside from this is the powerful sense of self that is often termed the ego-self or the ego. The conceptual contrast between spirit and ego is what this book is all about.

If we define spirit as really being, and ego as not fully being, then the challenge posed by Shakespeare takes on a very profound meaning. Do we choose to live from spirit or from ego? That is the question. My personal answer to that choice has completely redefined my life and has led me to write about my experience. The irony is that the very act of writing and publishing a book about spirituality is itself an act of ego, and yet beneath that exterior facade there is a genuine and humble impulse to share what I have discovered.