Monday, July 29, 2019

Drawing life into Being, Part IV

 One must attend much more carefully to this question of how life flows into Being in order to understand this properly. The action is fundamental and needs to be observed through the feeling and sensation of its nature, not by thinking of it. When we discuss the idea of self observation, it’s all too common to think about it – and to think that somehow I “see” by observing and then thinking about things, thinking about what I have seen and so on. 

Yet the observation that takes place through feeling and sensation doesn’t use the thinking function (the intellectual function) to take in, sense, and understand. Each of these capacities, feeling and sensation, have their own unique intelligence in this regard. When Gurdjieff spoke about three-centered being, he was referring to this action of all three centers functioning in the observation of how life flows into Being. If this isn’t the first aim, then all the other aims are not anchored in objective perception. 

I can dream up an endless variety of aims regarding my external life, and I do. Yet there is no dream involved in the receiving of life into Being. If there are dreams, they arise afterwards. When I attempt to draw life more deeply into Being, I’m always poised at the point where life and Being arise and come together, before my dreaming begins.

This organic perception of life flowing into Being is what Swedenborg called the inflow, and what Jeanne de Salzmann referred to as influences. The divine is born within every moment in personhood; the question is whether we participate within awareness and accept before anything else takes place, or whether we attempt to appropriate and own the process. The first alternative – participation — is the path to service; the second one is the path to selfishness. All creatures, whether they want to or not, automatically serve one path or the other. 

Meister Eckhart brought this up in sermon 17, where he said, “the unjust man is the servant of truth, whether he likes it or not, and he serves the world and creatures, and is a bondman of sin.”  What he means here is related to this idea of life flowing into Being. Truth — the fundamental action of life flowing into Being — is always there. There is no escaping it. It is what one serves within the context of that truth that matters. The more deeply that life flows into Being, the more harmonically aligned a human being becomes with truth.

 To have life flow more deeply into Being means that life must go beyond the surface of things. Allegorically speaking, there are three different levels of intelligence within a human being, intellectual intelligence, the intelligence of sensation, and the intelligence of feeling. Gurdjieff lay this out in complex technical terms as described in PD Ouspensky’s  In Search of the Miraculous. ( What is commonly referred to as the food diagram.) Yet a simpler and more straightforward approach to this talks about how the most superficial way we can receive our life is through the intelligence of the intellect. Almost everything that human beings come up with in terms of their aim relates to the way this part functions; they think through this part and form aims. Sensation and feeling are like wild animals with little discipline. Yet they have a much greater capacity for receiving impressions of life more deeply; and if the parts function together in harmony, life flows much more deeply into Being, in such a way that it produces completely different sensations and even more different feelings that reveal objective truth that cannot be accessed within the field of our consciousness in any other way. One might say that they are part of the symphony of notes that, under the ordinary circumstances of awareness, cannot even be heard. The ordinary parts of awareness consider them to be undertones or overtones, subtle colorations, whereas they are in fact the most essential parts of the symphony, the character which gives it its essence.

This reminds me of another passage from Meister Eckhart, The Master’s Final Words, in which he reminds his pupils that God is found in the smallest things. In the same way, the most magnificent and extraordinary parts of life can be found in its tiniest aspects, because the character of the harmonic symphony of Being is such that all of its color and meaning is embodied in the so-called overtones and undertones, which cannot be heard, understood, or appreciated so long as the vibrations stop within the intellect. Life must flow deeply into being through an integrated harmonic relationship that brings these notes into the core of one’s essence, falling into a place of stillness that is virginal — untouched by all of the outer considerations.

This may seem difficult, I know. Yet without a lifelong, extended pondering of these particular questions, and many many efforts over many years to become more sensitive to the exact nature of inward Being and the inward flow of life and creation into the divine receptacle of Being, we cannot hope to understand how this functions.

I have not even mentioned grace, which is the assistance sent by God into Being to help it receive life. That is a complicated and essential subject as well; and not the subject of this particular discourse. Yet never forget it, because prayer and the hope of grace is overwhelmingly important in our effort to understand this question.

 Remember, here, that I say we must draw our life more deeply into our Being. If one draws life into Being, it is an intentional rather than an accidental or passive action. This means that we must participate actively, that we must be like fishermen drawing the fish towards us. One needs to be present and wish; yet that presence must be selfless and that wish must be a wish without grasping. There’s a magnetic resonance one must learn to inhabit; and one must allow the energy of that magnetic resonance to help draw life into Being. 

This is why it is so often said, in the Gurdjieff teaching, that we need to be present to a finer energy.

Wishing the best for you on this day,


Lee van Laer is a Senior Editor at Parabola Magazine.

Friday, July 26, 2019

Drawing Life into Being, Part III

I’m sure that my statement must cause some confusion: the aim of our existence must first be to draw our life as deeply as possible into our Being.

After all, what is life? And what is Being? What is the difference between the two? This is probably unclear; and since different people use terms to mean different things, what I recommend here is perhaps too easily misunderstood.

By life I mean everything that is outside a person, all of the things that take place regarding objects, events, circumstances, and conditions. All of creation, in its essence, lies outside personhood and is received by it. In this way life is creation itself, which flows into personhood.

Being is personhood. 

The word person derives from the Latin persōna, originally meaning human being, possibly borrowed from the Etruscan phersu, meaning mask. Combining the other root early (circa 1200) English meaning of person — role, or character, as in a drama — we realize that the idea of a person, a human being, is one who takes on a guise through the action of being. 

This complex and very rich set of associative meanings reminds us that a person, a human being, is an embodiment of the divine. We might understand it (the way that so-called primitive societies do in mask-dances, once found throughout the world) as the action of the divine taking on an aspect of Being in order to express itself.

This idea of the divine expressing itself within the nature of personhood and a human being is scattered throughout Meister Eckhart’s sermons; and so we come to this idea of life — creation — flowing into personhood, or Being.

These are the technical and theoretical considerations; yet this morning I want to discuss the nature of Being and how it drinks life in, how it exists as the fundamental fact of existence.

We exist, as we are, within the range of our own consciousness (so far as we may experience it) and the world flows into that consciousness. 

Being receives life in the same way that a vessel receives water; and the mystery of water changing into wine relates to the transformation of life, received into Being, into a much richer kind of food. Life flows into this vessel of Being; and the more deeply it flows in, the richer and more intense the flavor. This is the practical aspect of Gurdjieff’s food of impressions.

All of existence must have an aim of some kind. One person commented recently that everyone subjectively interprets the aim of their own existence. The implication, of course, is that everyone has a different aim regarding their existence. And of course there is some truth in this, although it is a secondary and subsidiary truth. We are trying to get to the root aim of existence, the fundamental aim which all other aims must serve if Being is to be properly served and developed. That root aim has to be objective.  

At the risk of sounding pejorative, all aims that come after this root aim are what I would call stupid aims — and I say that simply because I see my own aims in this context and understand how far they fall short of the real purpose of existence. Until one sees and experiences this directly, one will most certainly continue to believe in one’s subjective aims, one’s stupid aims, and be absolutely convinced that they are all that there is and all that matters.  I regret to say, reading this particular material— or any other material related to it— will probably not help much in this regard. Yet we must try.

 This root aim centers around the action of life feeding Being. That action takes place as an organic, fundamental, vibrational and harmonic activity which exists before anything else takes place. Indeed, one can strip personhood of all of its external aspects, and still be receiving this fundamental vibration within a stillness that is completely empty and speaks of it for itself through the action of life and divinity alone, with no other unadulterated aspect of thought or identity contaminating it.

This alone, however, is an obliteration of the individuality — the undivided this — of divine awareness, which by its nature takes on character through the receiving of the impressions of life. (It wears a mask, phersu,  and plays a role through Being.) Individuality can be obliterated—and it’s possible to taste the fundamental state of reality through this nothingness of personhood—yet personhood itself arises from the action, and becomes the instantaneous and immediate adjunct of this first aim where life flows more deeply into Being. 

Personhood forms from what Gurdjieff called conscious awareness; and although there are of course an innumerable number of gradations of awareness, conscious or otherwise (many of which lack consonant vibration and are generally referred to as sleep) personhood is always at the root of the action. So when I drink life more deeply into Being, personhood is more wholly formed.  If life does not flow into Being at all in the first place, there is no personhood. 

Life and Being are reciprocal. One is outward; the other inward.  The inner receives the outer. In fact, without the inner to receive it, the outer cannot even exist. There can be no existence without a consciousness to receive it. Everything begins here; and so to entertain the idea that the aim — the original and root aim — of existence consists of all the absolutely trivial, life-driven pursuits we dream up for ourselves misses the point, which is only revealed where everything begins.

Wishing the best for you on this day,


Lee van Laer is a Senior Editor at Parabola Magazine.

Wednesday, July 24, 2019


Memo: Drawing life into being, part II was erroneously published twice.

This morning I recovered the text for part I and corrected it. Those who are interested can go back and check it.

As I said to one reader...

Finally—proof I am not perfect after all!

My mother continues to struggle as of this writing, July 24. She is moving to a new long term care facility today.

Eventually I'll make some notes to myself about it for this space... but not quite yet.



Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Drawing life into Being, part II

There are many discussions about the aim of inward work, spiritual disciplines, and so on. We also discussed the aim of one’s existence, which takes on many aspects.

Yet there is one essential aspect about the aim of life that comes before any other aim. 

The aim of one’s existence is to draw one’s life as deeply as possible into one’s Being.

 Of course one must understand what Being is, what Presence is, first, and yet even with that knowledge — which must become an understanding, not just a collection of facts — one must inhabit that being in order to draw one’s life into one’s Being.

 Life is subordinate to being, and all of the events in it, after Being. So one needs to be present within one’s Being first, then draw one’s life in through an active relationship with the heart. Being draws life into itself through all of the parts, but it gradually coalesces around the heart. There is a still, perfect, and silent place here that draws life into itself from the outward action and events.

As a beekeeper, sometimes I think about the way bees collect honey. There is an analogy here, but it isn’t in the building of comb and the storing of honey; those are essential, but they come later. Before any of that happens, when the bee encounters the flower, it enters a relationship with the nectar of that flower and drinks it in. It is the presence of the Bee and its relationship to the nectar where everything begins. If the bee doesn’t drink the nectar in and make it a part of its own Being, it has nothing to bring back to the hive and make honey with. Nothing to offer the community, nothing to share with it. The bee’s first task is to draw the nectar into its Being. 

Later, all of the good results that obtain from that emerge.

 I would counsel you to study this question of drawing life into your Being as closely as possible,  as often as possible, in intimate detail. This is the first and most important task you should give yourself.

Wishing the best for you on this day,


Lee van Laer is a Senior Editor at Parabola Magazine.

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Drawing life into Being, Part I

 I said before how life serves itself, because life is God and God serves God. Every iota of life, no matter what it arises in, springs directly from the energy of God’s own Being. So already, as I sit here writing this and as you sit here reading it, I am within God’s own Being and so are you.  

If I accept this, the energy helps me. As Michelle de Salzmann said, “acceptance is energetic.” 

Along the way, let me remind readers about the book The Next Attention by Fran Shaw, which can provide essential support available in no other text about the Gurdjieff practice. This book has been largely forgotten by the Gurdjieff community—it was barely even acknowledged in the first place—, yet the practice recorded in it is a platinum standard.

I’m always struggling to be something. This is a terrible practice in the end, even though Gurdjieff and Jeanne de Salzmann talked about struggle all the time. 

Everything that I turn into combat becomes a war, even if I pretend that it’s about seeking inner peace. Can I see this?  

I am done with the combat. 

Instead I wish to come to a very still and silent place within myself where this fine vibration of life arises. 

In the root of that silence and that love, there’s a possibility for Being that is much greater than my own desire, my narcissistic impressions of myself as a hero in the struggle for Being. Whenever I reside there and manifest from there, I begin from within Being first. In this way I both embody life and honor it, and I understand my service for God as the first task in front of me.

 Don’t get caught up in self-involvement and some imaginary struggle which pretends to be self remembering but is actually just self-importance dressed up with a lot of fancy ideas.  I remember myself first and always by remembering God and others. It is the relationship that matters, not my own inner nature. My inner nature is the birthright of God’s own life and energy, which I ought to trust and move from gracefully, using it as the center of gravity for my Being. My Being is here to help serve life and to serve God and others. 

  This doesn’t mean I do nothing at all for myself. And I need to keep a very close eye on my ego, which wants to do everything and keep everything. Yet all that watching needs to take place from the center of Being, and not just exist theoretically as a formulation I apply according to ideas I read somewhere. My practice needs to be organic and alive, and it needs to accept the conditions with intelligence and sensitivity.

Wishing the best for you on this day,


Lee van Laer is a Senior Editor at Parabola Magazine.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019


 May 18

Day before yesterday, my mother had a stroke. 

She’s doing well; but for the first day, she was in a coma and completely unresponsive. There was no way of knowing whether she would emerge from it, or whether she would be mentally competent once she did.

The evening of the stroke, as the family gathered around the dinner table, our prayers were brief but intense. I said to the gathering, “Lord, may thy will be done swiftly.”

Now, those who wish to understand a bit about God’s will would do well to read Meister Eckhart’s sermon number 10. It is all about that subject. What he says, in essence, is that I must surrender my own will wholly.  At that moment only God’s will can exist within me.  This, of course, is a very high thing and I’m quite fortunate if I taste even the least molecule of its substance. Yet it’s possible for me to understand how important it is to rush towards God’s will with all of my Being, whatever it may be. It doesn’t matter what it is; the more fully and swiftly I embrace it, the better off I am, no matter what the consequence is.  

One might think of it as being atop a burning building with no escape. One is going to die. One has to escape the fire no matter what. One sees one has no choice but to completely fulfill God’s will in that moment, which is that one dies — and so one rushes straights towards God's will and jumps off the building, fully embracing it. 

This may seem an extreme and perhaps even cruel example; yet how else can we understand how thoroughly and absolutely we ought to race towards God’s will and embrace it, no matter what it is

 In my own case, I knew that it was most important that God’s will be done. 

In such a case, no matter what it cost me or my family, it's best it be done swiftly, because the sooner we get to where God is taking this, the better off we are. God’s will for our life is unerring and always points towards the salvation of our souls. It’s best we embrace it instead of having arguments with ourselves and with God about what is coming or what has to happen. Again, this is the point of Eckhart’s sermon number 10. Do not deny yourself the insights he brings us by failing to read it.

Thus is my counsel to myself for this day.

Wishing the best for you on this day,


Lee van Laer is a Senior Editor at Parabola Magazine.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Life Serves Life

May 18

Life flows into us from a higher level. 

Perhaps we don’t sense this; and even if we do, we often forget it, because that which is familiar begins to seem ordinary and not worth paying attention to. Even diamonds begin to look like mere sand if one sees enough of them for a time.

 Yet the energy of this life inwardly forms me and all my Being. Every instant of its manifestation is an instant of the manifestation of God’s Being; and although I forever make the mistake of believing and thinking and feeling and sensing that this Being is mine, actually, I am only the servant.

 I'm the servant of this life, who has mistaken himself as the master. I serve life; it does not serve me. 

Yet I forget this.

Yesterday a young man who is a close friend, confidant, and protégé noticed that a task needed to be done to clean out a piece of equipment.  He announced it to the room at large, but did nothing himself. 

I said to him, “if you see a need, meet it yourself, don’t leave it for others.”

“ But,” he said, “I don’t use this piece of equipment. Why should I clean it? The ones who use it should do the cleaning.”

“ You should clean it because you can,” I said to him. “Our task is to serve others and to serve our lives. Not to serve ourselves.” 

Then I gave him an example. I noted to him how I buy food for others and give it to them, even though I don’t eat it myself. I do this to help them, to give them something to support their lives and their needs. I don’t even necessarily get satisfaction from this. The selfish part of me argues with me that I shouldn’t spend my money to help make other people’s lives easier. But this is a wrong thing. I go against it. I provide for others not because it makes me look good, or makes me feel good, or wins me points in the competition for friendship. 

I try to understand that I must provide for others because it is my duty.

This example is drawn from outward service. Yet outward service begins with an effort to understand how my inward service ought to function. 

This force of inward service is drawn from a relationship with a higher energy, the energy of life itself which flows into me. 

If I'm aligned with this energy, my duty becomes clear. I don’t need to think about what my duty should be, because it arises organically within my three parts — thinking, sensing, feeling — and I simply follow that duty for no reason other than it is.

A duty that I craft myself—for example, where I convince myself that I have a duty to go off and kill other people on behalf of my nation—isn't a real duty to God. There are moments when such duties can even be good duties within the limited arrangements that life prescribes, but there's a higher duty every human soul is called to which is quite different, and it's important not to get confused between the two.

Thus is my counsel to myself on this morning.

Wishing the best for you on this day,


Lee van Laer is a Senior Editor at Parabola Magazine.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Life—receiving itself as itself, part II

This idea of receiving life itself as itself is closely related to this idea of the feeling basis of existence. Receiving life is above all an emotional experience. The more intimately I reside within the stillness of my own being, the clearer this becomes.

My ego is a completely insensitive creature with no regard whatsoever for others, except in terms of what it thinks it can get from them for itself. The only true compassionate action that arises within me comes from a different place, where the ego is in the back seat and doesn’t get to direct the vehicle. In fact, it always costs something to act from any place other than the ego. And the ego hates to spend its capital on anything but itself. So if I don’t want to do whatever it is that’s in front of me, I can be reasonably certain it’s my ego providing the resistance. This is why Gurdjieff said, “like what it does not like.”

There is nothing for the ego in the process of receiving life as itself, for itself. So of course it has no interest in that process and does everything it can to distract from it and prevent it.  The stillness within me has no place for the ego to live. It’s very much like Swedenborg’s heaven; there is no home for the selfish there. So we might liken this place of silence and stillness within us to the kingdom of heaven; and indeed, it is exactly where the kingdom of heaven is born. The kingdom of heaven begins where life receives itself as itself.

In this place, every impression becomes precious. Every impression is the deepest kind of food. Every moment can be seen as the manifestation of the sacred force of the Holy Spirit.

Wishing the best for you on this day,


Lee van Laer is a Senior Editor at Parabola Magazine.

Monday, July 8, 2019

Life—receiving itself as itself

May 11

I’m back from China, and I’ve had a week to recover from my jet lag. This morning we took a walk out to the end of the pier in Piermont.

 There is a place within us that is eternally still and eternally silent. By this I mean that its stillness is outside of time and its silence is outside of time. This place is populated by nothing except awareness. It doesn’t have the ego in it; it is simply the receptacle for being.

The harmonic vibrations of being need to resonate sympathetically in order for this stillness to become accessible. It is there even in the midst of the most hectic and disconcerting parts of life. If it forms itself well, it acts as an anchor within my daily manifestations.

As I write this, I’m in relationship with that place. It awaits the arrival of the forces of being which flow into me. If I learn how to pause both within myself and my relation to others, perhaps I can see that life is about receiving what takes place. This is a very different position than the one my ego would build everything out of. I don’t see how my ego drives everything, and how my whole life is a process of thinking only of myself. But if I am in this place of stillness, the ego does not direct my activities.

I don’t believe that it is possible to just be, without this force of the ego driving everything. That my life consists, in its essence, of receiving itself as itself. Instead, I’m perpetually obsessed with attempting to craft everything. Life can craft itself if I allow it to; and, strangely, that reciprocally includes everything that I want to craft. It just becomes a process where the craft creates the artist, rather than the other way around. This is like writing valid poetry; it does not get written, it flows in to the writer, who is nothing more than an intermediary putting the words on the page. The hidden idea behind the initiatory schools of the ancient world embodied this in the figure of the Muse.

 The idea is that life breathes life into us. All of the impressions that we take in are, like the air we breathe, a food that flows into us. Like the muse, it inspires us — there is an exchange of sacred substances that takes place on the finest level, in the molecular structure of my cells, where the impressions are received ever more deeply and produce an increasingly harmonious vibration.

 That vibration intensifies in direct proportion to how attentively I cultivate my relationship with this place that is still and silent. I can even do that in the midst of an argument or an intense business meeting. But in order to do so, I have to attend quite carefully to my sensation so that I can balance my relationship between the outer and the inner parts of myself.

Wishing the best for you on this day,


Lee van Laer is a Senior Editor at Parabola Magazine.

Friday, July 5, 2019

The Feeling-Basis of Existence— Notes on The Kingdom of Heaven, Part IV

One can only encounter the feeling basis of existence through the perception that life flows into us without impediment. Every interference with the inflow of life into being is an impediment; life ought to flow into being first and without any obstacles to inhibit it. It’s only in this condition, in which it has not been tampered with, that it can provide the deepest kind of spiritual food which it was intended to provide us with. This deeply spiritual food can form our being in a new way. And, as Christ indicated, that newly formed being exists only in a new vessel, that is to say, that part of us which contains it is not the old part of ourselves, the natural part, but this newly spiritual being, which is a sacred vessel devoted exclusively to a personal relationship with God’s love.

That relationship with love needs to come first within being, because if it is put right within its place at the center of our lives, everything else emanates from it: all of our thoughts, actions, words, and the deeds are formed from within that place of spiritual compassion and then emerge.

There are extraordinarily difficult conundrums presented in this action, because survival in the natural world demands intense contradictions with the spiritual being. The waters are fast and rough, and require an extraordinary amount of intelligence to navigate. One of the reasons there needs to be a barrier between the spiritual and the natural self which is never crossed by the natural self — a defense of sorts — is because the natural self will do everything that it can to contaminate the spiritual self. As my own teacher Betty Brown put it, one cannot mix levels. One has to be quite aware and conscious of the difference between the spiritual levels and the natural levels and keep them separated.

Wishing the best for you on this day,


Lee van Laer is a Senior Editor at Parabola Magazine.

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

The Feeling-Basis of Existence— Notes on The Kingdom of Heaven, Part III

Photograph May 11 a.m., Piermont, NY

 Hence this expression, the feeling-basis of existence.

You may think that existence is composed of matter, of things, of concrete stuff that we manipulate. Or that it is formed of our sensation of it, the mechanical perceptions. Or that it’s formed of our thoughts alone. 

There are philosophical schools formed around each of these ideas, and variations on them. But all of them are essentially incorrect, because reciprocal relationship and feeling, which is that indefinable substance called love, are the basis of everything — not matter, not electromagnetism, not stuff. Love can’t be measured with machines or poured into bottles. It can’t be harvested and stored for later. It always has to manifest and act now, because it exists within and emanates from eternity.

Eternity is outside of time. So already, love comes from a place inaccessible to us. Yet it already exists, before we do; it creates us. 

 We can think that we exist. I think, therefore I am. Or we can sense that we exist: a permanent sensation of being. But it isn’t until we feel that we exist through the inward flow of impressions, from the love that is created into the center of the love that we are capable of receiving, that we actually exist. Thinking and sensing are preparations for what would, by Gurdjieff practitioners, be called “real” feeling.

 This use of the word real is interesting, because I hear it quite often in the Gurdjieff work. It’s a dangerous word, because its use automatically devalues everything it is attempting to distinguish the phenomenon it describes from. The word, ironically, originally had the meaning of something material, a thing, or matter, and it’s Latin form reālis. We can infer that the original intention behind the word was that which is actual, which can be verified. But the sensory overtones, the coarse material associations, are the opposite of the way we use it when we describe things as being “real” in a spiritual sense. We mean it as though to say that things that are not “real” are inferior, somehow less valuable — and this devaluing of what takes place is, as I said, dangerous.

I think I would rather say spiritual feeling than ”real” feeling. This helps us to distinguish between the spiritual center of our life, that which is sacred and at a higher rate of vibration, and the natural center of life, which is equally necessary within its own sphere of influence. The feeling-basis of existence centers around our spiritual nature, which, if it is properly developed, is uncompromisingly compassionate. The feeling-basis of existence does not have an alternate mode. We can distinguish between an understanding of this question and the lack of it by the very nature of how compassionate an individual is in their manifestation. As Christ put it, “Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.” (Matthew 7:16 – 20)  The good fruit is compassion and love, which every tree — spiritual truth that grows within being — should put forth. “A corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.” 

 I’ve said before that a spiritual search must aim for the discovery of the good; and this good is the spiritual basis of life, the feeling-basis of existence. While there are many technical ways of explaining this, some of which are completely congruent with the Gurdjieff teaching, the teachings — all of them — merely point towards what is necessary. Every human being must embody the action, not think it over and weigh it against other possibilities. The truth of spiritual being needs to be known organically as an absolute truth, not subject to the relativity mankind inflicts on almost everything he encounters and thinks about. This is what Gurdjieff was alluding to when he spoke about objective knowledge.

Wishing the best for you on this day,


Lee van Laer is a Senior Editor at Parabola Magazine.