The path to enlightenment can sometimes lead to dire circumstances

My April 19, 2022 book culture column for the San Francisco Chronicle:

In his early 30s, Shetler quit his job at a tech startup and set out on a global quest, inspired by many other adventurers and writers, including Joseph Campbell, the professor of comparative mythology and religion whose best-known work is “The Hero With A Thousand Faces” (1949), in which he discusses his theory of the journey of the archetypal hero. ¶ In 2016, Shetler vanished while on a trip through India’s remote Parvati Valley, a place renowned for its natural beauty but also for dangerous terrain where dozens have disappeared. There, he had spent weeks studying under the guidance of an Indian holy man, living and meditating in a cave.

more …