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Excerpted from Awakening to the Sacred  by Lama Surya Das. Copyright© 1999 by Lama Surya Das. Excerpted by permission of Broadway Books, a division 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.

"Seekers want to understand and explore themselves as well as the universe with all its mysteries, both known and unknowable."

Lama Surya Das, Awakening to the Sacred, Part 1

Let none turn over books, or roam the stars in quest of God, who sees him not in man. 

--JOHANN KASPAR LAVATER, Swiss poet (1741-1801)

If you have picked up this book, then in all probability you are a seeker. My dictionary has a simple definition of a seeker as "one who seeks: a seeker of truth." In practical terms, a seeker is a spiritual traveler or wayfarer, a pilgrim who has embarked on a quest to find and experience the sacred. Seekers are ubiquitous: They can be found in every nation; they can be part of any religious group or denomination. The search for truth and love--something beyond and bigger than ourselves--is the common element.

Seekers want to understand and explore themselves as well as the universe with all its mysteries, both known and unknowable. In their hearts, seekers believe that the universe makes sense and their lives have meaning. They believe not only that truth exists, but that it can indeed be found, and experienced.

When I was young, and even more foolish than I am today, I believed that one had to travel far and wide in order to seek truth, divine reality, or whatever you call it. I believed that truth would most likely be found in the world's so-called sacred places. Yet the fact is that truth is everywhere; it knows no religious, cultural, temporal, or ethnic bounds. Truth is the perfect circle. Its center is everywhere; its circumference stretches into infinite space. The land on which we stand is sacred, no matter where we stand.

The Tao Te Ching says:

Without going out of my door
I can know all things on earth.
Without looking out of my window
I can know the ways of heaven.

Each of us--you and me--stands at the center of his or her own truth. Throughout the ages, saints, sages, and holy men and women have all discovered the same thing--that truth is found by living truly. Awareness is the essential ingredient in a spiritual life. Seekers walk the spiritual path to enlightenment because they believe it will bring a true understanding of reality--an understanding of "what is" and how things work. The spiritual path is best walked step by step, very mindfully, with as much consciousness and commitment as one can summon.

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