For several thousand years Western religions have provided meaning for people’s lives, and have answered the basic questions: How was the universe created? How do I participate in our world and find meaning? While millions of people continue to find answers in religions, increasing numbers are dissatisfied with mainline Christianity, which has failed to keep up with modern science and the evolution of human consciousness. Nevertheless, multitudes of people consider themselves to be spiritual and yearn to know and practice a meaningful life. For a time in the early 2000s, positive psychology suggested that happiness was the basic ingredient for the good life; the gospel of happiness and prosperity was promoted in books, movies, and many pulpits across the country. Despite the affluence of the United States and the West, however, many people are miserable and confused. In fact, the pursuit of happiness can ultimately lead to unhappiness. The journalist Emily Esfahani Smith, after extensive research, has concluded that there are four pillars for a meaningful life: belonging, purpose, storytelling, and transcendence. Do you belong to some family unit or spiritual group? Do you have a “calling” or purpose for living? In this world of great diversity and accelerating change, have you written down the important stories of your life in order to bring coherence to your experiences, to navigate daily life and provide a legacy for the next generation? Are you connected to someone or something larger than your self? In this class we will explore these pillars and the answers to these questions, drawing from our readings, personal experiences, and preparations for class discussions. We will explore various ideas and practices of an emerging spirituality. I will provide short, weekly writing assignments for inspiration and discussion.