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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.
 


"One of the greatest challenges that Western seekers face is finding ways to integrate spiritual values and pragmatic and practical practices into whatever they do."

Lama Surya Das, Awakening to the Sacred
Part 3

These people all want personal transformation and direct religious experience. Isn't that what we all want? Don't we all want enlightenment? As a new century begins, the question is not whether we here in the West want enlightenment, but rather how. How can we find spiritual transformation? How can we find a renewed sense of life, purpose, and meaning--here and now?

One of the greatest challenges that Western seekers face is finding ways to integrate spiritual values and pragmatic and practical practices into whatever they do. As seekers, we intuitively believe that the visible world we live in is part of a greater spiritual universe. We aspire to somehow experience a more palpable connection with that sacred universe. We sincerely believe that it is possible to become part of that universe by actualizing the divine light or spirit that is found within each of us.

Like me, most of the people who attend my lectures come from a religious tradition other than Buddhism--usually Christianity or Judaism, traditions that often stress service both to God and humanity. Typically, these people are drawn by various Buddhist practices, such as meditation, because they want to bring more mindfulness and serenity into their lives. They are hoping that mindfulness, in turn, will help them become more compassionate, loving, and caring; they are hoping that mindfulness will help them find ways to serve and contribute; they are hoping that mindfulness will help them get rid of old patterns and habits that have proven to be unwise. These people want to be and act in more highly evolved conscious and wise ways. They want their lives to reflect more noble and inclusive aspirations and concerns. They want to live up to who and what they are. They want to fulfill their spiritual potential. They want their lives to have spiritual purpose.

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