NEXUS involves a stark look at psychological turmoil as exemplified by inner conflicts present with each person in the book. Both Debby and I consciously highlighted that personal transformation is an arduous journey in our novel. The inner conflict that causes psychological turmoil needs to be successfully resolved, otherwise suffering at some level will continue.
The psychological journey to healing the mind from pain, hurt and anger requires understanding the problem, acknowledging its existence, and then a release from the unskillful patterns of thought and interaction. In an ideal situation our interaction with another person would be based on courage, love and trust. However, after hurtful experiences with relationships, especially when our hope or trust is dashed, we can erect walls around our broken heart. In such a situation, our fear keeps us from experience of closeness we crave in preference of secure walls.
Logan Andrews, the main character of NEXUS, exemplifies these inner psychological conflicts that are present in depression and despair. He is given insights at a spiritual retreat by his teachers, Chandra Singh and his partner, Celeste, which he tries to integrate into his psyche. Still, as he takes a step forward toward healing, he takes two backwards into depression. Even when new understanding dawns, it is also easily lost as old patterns reemerge with strength. Logan needs to find mental peace through reconnecting with equanimity that is at the centre of his being.
In Logans case, a tough love approach will not work as advocated by individuals like Dr. Phil McGraw, since the problem requires time and patience. His hopelessness is deep and even with new insights, the struggle doesnt instantaneously disappear for thoughts of suicide continue to haunt him. He is left wondering whether he can ever be free of them. Or will his freedom be found in death?
Other people in NEXUS also have unique conflicts: Sarah McMaster, the main female character in the story, needs to regain her lost courage, confidence and sense of direction through acquiring ethical peace. She needs to sort through her fear and uncertainty with full courage. Steven, an unethical businessman, needs to learn the importance of compassion in order to find spiritual peace. Muriel, a lonely widow at the retreat, hopes to find emotional peace gained through community and connection with others.
All persons at the retreat start their journey from the circumference like the rim of a wheel, and need to journey through different paths or spokes to the centre or the hub. Will they find the centre of their being, which is the Nexus; a place of peace, courage, empathy and faith?
The Nexus is uncontrived, a place of stillness in the middle of movement just as the rim moves on the outer edge and the spokes radiate, yet the central hub which connects everything remains still. In the same way, when the Nexus can be found within then our true nature is realized and outer commotion and conflicts that arise from ego and personality simply dissipate.
The progression to Nexus for Logan is a challenge with a death wish to escape pain, which stands in opposition to his understanding that the very pain he desires to escape makes him most human. His psychological conflict and that of other people drawn to the retreat become exciting sub-plots in NEXUS with romance, humour and drama for readers along with insights.
Each person is drawn to the spiritual retreat in the hopes of overcoming pain, yet they discover that their pain binds them to the Nexus at the centre of their being. Only through a connection with Nexus, can personal transformation lead to equanimity and compassion.