Finding the Holy in everyday activity

[A cartoon based on the two years I spent living in New York. Buy the print here etc.]

My friend, Euan Semple is probably the guy who convinced me to switch from PC to Apple, about five years ago.

“Even opening up the cardboard box is a religious experience!”, he said.

Heh. A slight exaggeration, certainly.

But then I’m thinking… Perhaps not?

As somebody who likes to study religion, I’ve always thought that one of the more interesting questions in the world to ponder is, “What is Holy?”

Exactly. Holy. What does it actually mean?

And the same with Unholy…

When a mundane act (such as the opening of a cardboard box) is elevated (in this case, by great package design), we experience what the mystics call “The Divine”.

This doesn’t have to mean a strong belief in God, either way. They’re called mystics for a reason: the whole thing is indeed a mystery. Call it “God” if you will, call it something else completely. The mystery remains, either way.

Work, whether business or craft or just plain hard, sweaty labor, is far more interesting, fun and meaningful when one can channel one’s own sense of divinity into it, religious or otherwise. This is how we find the Holy in everyday life, religious or otherwise.

This is how we plug into “The Mystery”.

Steve Jobs knew this, instinctively. It was glaringly obvious.


  1. yeah, Apple mastered delivering “religious” experiences – even their store in London looks like an old European church.

    It’s still very hard to implement it yourself – I think it has a lot to do with endless trial and error, and the will to create something epic.

  2. Thank you for writing this. I grew up just outside of New York City in Rye and lived for a short time in Manhattan. My wife and I were married at St Francis of Assisi Church on 31st Street. I found it very hard to live on my own in New York City but there is something very, very special, even holy about New York City – the place and the people. I sort of like to think of one of the characteristics of holiness as being extra ordinary and that is what I encountered again and again in New York City among the homeless men and women I became friends with and among the delis I frequented. And then of course there is the unholiness. And it seems that great holiness is most evident and glorious in the midst of that which we might consider to be unholy.