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Excerpted from Awakening the Buddhist Heart by Lama Surya Das. Copyright© 2000 by Lama Surya Das. Excerpted by permission of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.  HTML and web pages copyright © by SpiritSite.com.

"Do you ever suffer from a sense that you are lost and wandering?"

Lama Surya Das, 
Awakening the Buddhist Heart, Part 1

Life is about relationship--the relationship we have with ourselves, with each other, with the world, as well as the connection to that which is beyond any of us yet immanent in each of us. When our relationships are good, we feel good; when they are bad, we feel awful. Let's accept it. We need each other. We need to feel connected; we need to feel each other's presence and love.

The most ancient scriptures of India say that we are all part of a universal web of light. Each of us is a glowing, shining, mirrorlike jewel reflecting and containing the light of the whole. All in one. One in all. We are never disconnected from the whole. This intrinsic knowledge of our place in the greater picture is part of our spiritual DNA, our original software--or "heartware."

Nonetheless, at one time or another most of us feel disconnected from this knowledge of our place in the great web of being. We lose sight of where we belong, and instead, we experience intense feelings of loneliness, alienation, and confusion. Trying to find the way back to our place in the whole is what the spiritual seeker's search is all about. It represents a journey home to who we are.

How about you? Do you ever suffer from a sense that you are lost and wandering--almost as though you have been through some kind of an emotional holocaust? Most of us here in America are very fortunate. We have little idea of what it's like to live in a war-torn country. Even so, from the safety of your own secure home, do you sometimes feel as though you have an uncanny sense of what it must feel like to be a displaced person--unsafe and at the mercy of strangers? 

Mother Teresa said, "The biggest problem facing the world today is not people dying in the streets of Calcutta, and not inflation, but spiritual deprivation . . . this feeling of emptiness associated with feeling separate from God, and from all our sisters and brothers on planet earth." "Loneliness," she said, "is like the leprosy of the West."

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