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.
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.