How to Find Spirituality in a Nightclub

I didn’t invent the connection between spirituality and nightlife. The Sufi poet Rumi beat me to it by over 800 years, comparing a mystical union with God to drinking wine and dancing with his beloved.

COVER.Guide to Bars and Nightlife in the Sacred City (cover)
Read more in the author’s recent book.

But that connection is something we recognize in theory. In practice, I get shocked looks when I say I found dancing with prostitutes in a Russian nightclub to be as spiritual an experience as singing Latin plainchant in a Swiss cathedral; partying at a tequila bar just outside Jerusalem’s Old City to be as religious as kissing the Wailing Wall; and running away from the Verona police with two Dutch girls and a Croatian woman to be as holy as living in a Buddhist monastery in India.

The surprise is understandable — but these experiences were all part and parcel of a single tapestry to me, because I entered them all in a state of pilgrimage.

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