Awake at the Wheel: Norio Kushi’s Highway Adventures and the Unmasking of the Phantom Self by Stephen Earle, is a surprising story of spiritual awakening behind the wheel of a truck. The book’s ultimate message is that spiritual awakening is at hand.
What we can say with absolute certainty, however, is that awakening is both a personal responsibility and a global imperative, and that the time for its realization is at hand.
Part of the allure of Awake at the Wheel, is that Norio Kushi is the son of Michio and Aveline Kushi. Michio Kushi and his wife Aveline were highly influential in introducing the macrobiotic diet in the U.S., and their many students spread and fostered a more general movement towards natural foods that evolved into today’s emphasis on local and organic goods. Earle masterfully weaves stories from Norio’s childhood in the macrobiotic movement (even John Lennon makes an appearance), with the story of Norio’s spiritual awakening.
What is Norio’s Kushi’s realization? It presents as an evolution, as well, beginning with an insight that “life is not going to turn out.” While that might sound depressing, in its full telling it becomes a powerful jolt that shakes Norio out of the belief that in some future day his perfect life would appear. Instead, he is free of that weight and begins to appreciate life in the here and now.
Every mile is new no matter how many times he has driven it before, and no matter how many miles he logs, he can never put distance between himself and the present. The landscape might be ever-changing, but his experience of being alive and in the driver’s seat has a timeless continuity.
His insights don’t stop there, however. To read the whole story, order the book from Amazon or your local bookseller.