The following responses from readers mean much more to me than simple praise and encouragement – as vital as encouragement always is.
If you have read Seeking the Sacred – or any of my other books but especially Seeking and In the Company of Rilke – you will know how mindful I am of the intimate and often intense inner conversation that any substantial book allows between writers and their readers. Hearing back from readers becomes especially encouraging in that context. These are just a few of the comments I have received. I hope they enhance your reading also.
From Michael B: “I have just finished reading Seeking the Sacred and it is as if you wrote it especially for me. I have now placed it on my bookshelf alongside The Art of Happiness by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, to be used as a reference as I continue to seek out the real me.”
Chris M wrote to tell me how much she liked the book, but expressed her concern about people living in harsh circumstances, perhaps in the third world, and wondered how much “meditation, nature, music, poetry, sitting quietly in beautiful places to pray and so on, have any relevance in their lives”. My response to Chris was to urge her to continue reading as I believe the book is exceptionally strong in its ethical bias TOWARDS care for all those suffering injustice of any kind, including the injustices of violence, abuse, war or poverty. Unless we leave our comfort zone to wake up and care actively, our quiet activities count for little. On the other hand, we often discover the depth of our capacity to care meaningfully in those quiet moments. Inner and outer activity can and do co-exist. I believe the book makes this very clear.
Bill Idol (who sends out an invaluable Third Age newsletter: firstname.lastname@example.org) wrote: “When I speak of, write about or attempt to live “the Sacred”, what Stephanie describes in her book is what I mean and what I try to do. No one has captured the paths I have traveled – and hope to travel – as clearly as she. If you want to give yourself a gift for this Sacred Season, I can’t imagine one more fitting than her inspiring book.”
Rosie P wrote: “Last week I came to Sydney to see my young adult daughter who is having a difficult time with an anxiety disorder…I came across Seeking the Sacred in a bookshop. I was drawn to it as I had loved Forgiveness and Other Acts of Love. I opened it up at page 9 and read ‘each time I choose the more loving direction, the kinder impulse, the most encouraging word; each time I choose to silence my complaint, my criticism or to deal with conflict non violently; each time I open more wholeheartedly to appreciate or express gratitude for what is around me; each time I offer help or comfort selflessly or pause to reflect, give thanks or praise, or to align myself freshly with my finest impulses and self, I discover the source of my spiritual life – and I live it.’ This beautiful piece of writing and the book became my guiding light for what started as a very difficult week but ended as a positive and empowering journey for both of us. My daughter is involved in an evangelical church – your book also helped me to gently articulate another view about a broad spiritual inclusiveness. I thank you.”
Maggie from Melbourne wrote, “[Your book] encompasses such a huge and still novel to some area of being human…” And then, quoting Augustine: “For to Him who is everywhere, people come not by ‘travelling’ but by loving.”
Hilary Foged (Star) wrote on FB: “This is the most profound book for those of us who are exploring in the deepest way through our lives the reality that we are ‘spiritual beings on a human path’. …I have cried and laughed and shared the stories and teachings from this book during the past few days with so many friends and family…It’s a mirror of our inclusive spiritual journeys reaching across many different paths and so needed in the time in our world.”