Dear Reader,
Is it possible for a place to be spiritual? Not a church, a shrine or a tabernacle, but just an area of incredible natural beauty?

I set out to answer that question last Friday when I drove south on Scenic Highway One from Monterey with my colleague Steven King. We were on our way to Big Sur, the famous 90-mile stretch of rugged and beautiful coastline between Carmel and San Simeon.

Steven had never been before. "What are we going to do when we get there?" he asked, a bit apprehensive.

"Just look," I said.

"You're kidding, right?"

It was a picture-perfect day: 63 degrees, a gentle breeze blowing in off the coast, not a cloud in sight. Suddenly, to the left of us were the imposing San Lucia Mountains, and on the right the world's most majestic view of the Pacific.

"Holy -," Steven said, dumbstruck as we rounded the first bend.

This is arguably the world's most dramatic meeting of land and sea, an area of unsurpassed natural beauty. For decades, it has attracted painters, sculptors, novelists, and other creative types, including one of my favorite American writers, Henry Miller.

The author of "Tropic of Cancer" and "Stand Still Like the Hummingbird" called Big Sur home from 1944 to 1962. And he clearly drew inspiration here.

"Often, when following the trail which meanders over the hills," he wrote, "I pull myself up in an effort to encompass the glory and the grandeur which envelopes the whole horizon. Often, when the clouds pile up in the north and the sea is churned with white caps, I say to myself, This is the California that men dreamed of years ago, this is the Pacific that Balboa looked out on from the Peak of Darien, this is face of the earth as the Creator intended it to look.'"

Steven and I soaked up the vistas for a couple hours, then hiked a few mostly-empty trails through the redwoods in Julia Pfeiffer State Park. Afterwards, we stopped in for a bit of browsing at the local Henry Miller Library. "Check your neuroses and psychoses at the gate," read a sign out front.

As charming as the library is, it's tough having a genuine Miller memorial. For starters, he didn't approve of them. Memorials, he said, "defeated the purpose of a man's life. Only in living your life to the full can you honor the memory of someone."

His own days were certainly full of gusto. As a young man, he lived an impecunious life, roaming the streets of Paris. In fact, his entire life was non-materialistic.

"If there is to be any peace," he once wrote, "it will come through being, not having."

Miller was married five times. (Another good reason he was broke.) He was a painter, an essayist, a pianist, a novelist, and was featured in Warren Beatty's film "Reds." He spent years studying the world's great religious traditions. And found something to admire in each of them:

"Buddha gave us the eight-fold path. Jesus showed us the perfect life. Lao-Tzu rode off on a water buffalo, having condensed his vast and joyous wisdom into a few imperishable words."

We knocked about the library for a while - squinting at old photographs, letters and manuscripts - then headed back out to the cliffs to watch the harbor seals and a school of more than a hundred dolphin, the biggest I've ever seen. (We also searched the sky overhead for the elusive California Condor. No luck.)

We topped off the day with a leisurely lunch and a glass of Sauvignon Blanc at Nepenthe - absolutely recommended - before heading back down the coastline.

So, does a lazy day at an idyllic spot really count as a spiritual experience? I doubt Henry Miller would argue the point. When he died in 1980, he had his ashes scattered off the coast here.

"It was here in Big Sur," he wrote, "I first learned to say Amen!"

Carpe Diem,


P.S. I'm giving a talk on "Spiritual Wealth" at FreedomFest, July 10-12 at Bally's in Las Vegas. Conference organizer Mark Skousen has asked me to speak on "Money and the Meaning of Life." This one is going to need a lot of audience participation so I invite you to join me and a roster of fabulous speakers including Congressman Ron Paul, Whole Foods CEO John Mackey, and authors Charles Murray, Dinesh D'Souza, Christopher Hitchens, David Boaz, Michael Shermer, Nathaniel Branden, and Jeremy Siegel, among others. For more information, call Tami Holland toll-free at 866.266.5101 or at 828.278.0502. I hope to see you there.

Author's Bio: 

Alexander Green has just launched Spiritual Wealth (

What is “Spiritual Wealth,” exactly?
According to Alex:
"Anything that can be measured in dollars and cents, I call material wealth. Everything else – the love of our families, the health we enjoy, the time we spend doing things we enjoy or working on things that really matter – I call spiritual wealth."

Alex is also the Chairman of Investment U, where his actionable investment ideas are published three times a week. He’s the Investment Director of The Oxford Club, as well, where he’s beaten the S&P 500 nearly 5-to-1 over the last five years.