Awakening to the Sacred: Creating a Spiritual Life from Scratchby Lama Surya Das
All of us long to connect with something greater than ourselves, to experience the sacred in our daily lives, and to enhance our sense of spiritual enlightenmentyet often we don't know where to begin. Awakening to the
A beautifully written, simple guide to creating a spiritual life from scratch and connecting with the sacred in everyday life.
All of us long to connect with something greater than ourselves, to experience the sacred in our daily lives, and to enhance our sense of spiritual enlightenmentyet often we don't know where to begin. Awakening to the Sacred is an extraordinary new book that provides seekers of all faiths with the tools and practices they need to build a spiritual life from the ground up and to cultivate a divine presence in everyday life.
In this elegant, inspiring book, Lama Surya Dasthe most highly trained American lama in the Tibetan tradition and author of the bestselling Awakening the Buddha Withinintegrates essential Buddhist practices with a variety of other spiritual philosophies and wisdom traditions to show you how to create a personalized spiritual practice based on your own individual beliefs, aspirations, and needs. Through reflections on his own life quest, thoughtful essays, and entertaining stories, Surya Das examines the common themes at the heart of any spiritual path, including faith, doubt, love, compassion, creativity, self-inquiry, and transformation. He then explores prayer, yoga, chanting, guided meditations, breathing exercises, and myriad other rituals, providing practical examples of each that we can use day-to-day to nurture our inner spirit.
Surya Das's unique and accessible approach emphasizes that we are all, by nature, spiritual beings and that our lives are naturally filled with sacred moments. Awakening to the Sacred illuminates the natural meditations already present in dailylife and shows how we can use them to awaken our hearts and minds and progress toward inner peace, happiness, and enlightenment.
- Random House, Incorporated
- Publication date:
- Product dimensions:
- 5.62(w) x 9.25(h) x 1.15(d)
Read an Excerpt
There seems to be so much hate, anger, and violence around us; how can we learn to find love, compassion, and forgiveness in our hearts? The world we live in is often filled with injustice and unkindness. Some of this seems to be directed at us personally. Even when the unkindness is minor and petty, it feels unfair, and we frequently respond by asking, "What did I do to deserve this?" We may wonder, "Why me?" or "Why those innocent people?"
Much of the injustice around us, of course, is large-scale and so horrific that it is difficult to imagine or deal with. Whenever I talk in public about love and forgiveness, someone almost inevitably raises a hand to ask about the Holocaust and Hitler, and, more recently, killings in places like Cambodia, Rwanda, Kosovo, or even the high school in Littleton, Colorado. Some events are so unbearable and indescribably awful that, as the expression goes, "even God hides his face."
Forgiveness and patience in the face of evil seems like an impossible task, even for the most loving and saintly among us. Yet when we fail to forgive, we are left with the price that bitterness and anger exacts on our physical and emotional health. When we view the world with cynicism and hate, not only do we risk headaches, indigestion, tension, we do violence to ourselves. Personal anger increases violence in the world; we become part of the problem rather than part of the solution.
I think it is important for all of us to realize that it is possible to forgive without forgetting the injustice that has occurred. Thomas Szasz once wrote, "The stupid neither forgive nor forget; the naïve forgive and forget; the wise forgive but do not forget." If we are hurt by a person or a situation, wisdom and common sense remind us to avoid similar situations. Wisdom and love are always connected.
It may seem impossible to forgive an Adolf Hitler, a Pol Pot, an Idi Amin, and even a Milosevic, but we can work at forgiving a human race that has allowed the hate that is found in Nazism, racism, or any other form of hatred to flourish. We have to forgive our own part in this, even as we vow to resist hatred in the future. If we can't do this, then there's little hope for this planet. On a more personal level, many of us need to work at learning to feel greater forgiveness for the "adversaries" in our own lives -- from our acrimonious in-laws to our difficult bosses.
Recognizing the many cruelties of this world helps us become more conscious of our own behavior and thoughts. If we really revile and detest man's inhumanity to man, as we say we do, then we have to painstakingly root hate and prejudice out of our own hearts and minds. Perhaps we ourselves could learn to be more gentle, compassionate, and loving. This is absolutely necessary for our own peace and well-being.
Sometimes the best place to start the practice of forgiveness is with ourselves. We need to be able to make peace with our own lives. Every one of us has done things that in retrospect cause us to flinch. Can we begin to learn to become more gentle and forgiving of ourselves? How can we learn to forgive others, if we continue to be intolerant of our own shortcomings and mistakes? Something to keep in mind is that even the IRS has a statute of limitations.
Spiritual work is inner work. Every time we work at becoming more aware and more conscious in our own lives, we are almost by definition growing spiritually.
Meet the Author
Lama Surya Das has spent thirty years studying with the great spiritual masters of Asia, including the Dalai Lama, and is a leading spokesperson for the emerging American Buddhism and contemporary spirituality. He is a poet, translator, and full-time spiritual teacher who leads lectures, workshops, and meditation retreats worldwide. He is the author of three books, including the national bestseller Awakening the Buddha Within, is active in interfaith dialogue, and has been featured in numerous publications including New Age Journal, the Boston Globe, the Los Angeles Times, and Tricycle. He lives outside Boston, Massachusetts.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
See all customer reviews