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Excerpted from Living in the Light by Shakti Gawain. Copyright © 1986 by Shakti Gawain. Excerpted by permission of New World Library.  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.

"I have always had a burning desire to understand how the universe works, what life is all about."

Shakti Gawain,
Living in the Light, Part 1

The Beginning of My Journey

I have always had a burning desire to understand how the universe works, what life is all about, and the meaning and purpose for which I am here. In retrospect, I can see that my entire life has been devoted to my search for truth and understanding.

I was brought up in a very intellectual, well-educated, non-religious family. My parents were essentially atheists, and very early on, I remember having the attitude that a belief in God was a human fabrication, a fantasy, a superstition created to help people feel better about the totally unexplained, and unexplainable, predicament we seem to find ourselves.

Human existence, or any other kind of existence, was simply an accident of nature and had no particularly fathomable meaning. I preferred to admit that I didnít know how we got here or why, rather than to adopt a simplistic explanation merely to gain a sense of security. I believed that truth was rational and anything that couldnít be proved scientifically didnít exist. I also felt somewhat condescending toward people who were weak enough to have to make up a god to believe in.

The positive side of this upbringing was that I didnít get a lot of the rigid dogma and deeply negative messages about right and wrong, heaven and hell, and sin that so many people receive in their early religious training. On the other hand, I had no conscious concept or experience of the spiritual dimension of life, and no answers for the questions I had about the meaning and purpose of my life.

My parents really wanted a child, and were very loving to me. Unfortunately they were unable to work out their own relationship and were divorced when I was two years old. Although I donít remember it clearly, I know this event had a major impact on my life and affected my later patterns in relationship. After the divorce, I lived with my mother who never remarried or had any other children. My father did remarry, and I often visited my father and his other family.

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