Excerpt from Spirituality is Not Optional by Bo Lozoff


The following essay appears in the Fall 2006 print issue of Tiferet. Click to purchase the Kindle edition from Amazon.

    It is said that a king wearing full battle armor once rushed up to see the Buddha. The king said, “O Enlightened One, I am on my way to war and it is very possible I may be killed. So I am in need of your deepest spiritual teachings. However, I must hurry or my soldiers will lose their courage. Can you sum up all your teachings in one word?” The Buddha replied, “Awareness.”

    Not religion. Not God. Not faith. Just awareness.

    There is an enormous difference between the choice to practice a religion and the need to become more spiritually aware. Religion is created by man. But life itself – creation, the universe, whatever we want to call it – is spiritual. That’s not an opinion or a philosophy or a view. Transcendent experiences are not merely relative; it is not as though they are real if you believe in them and not real if you don’t. The Divine is not an idea or a metaphor. It is a direct perception when we reach pure awareness.

Bo LozoffBO LOZOFF’S first book, We’re All Doing Time , now in its 19th printing, is available in several languages. It was hailed by the Village Voice as “one of the ten books everyone in the world should read,” and has been lauded by prison staff and prisoners alike as one of the most helpful books ever written for true self-improvement and rehabilitation. The book highlights Bo’s & Sita’s view that revolves squarely around unselfishness and compassion. Bo died November 29, 2012, in a motorcycle accident. He founded The Human Kindness Foundation with his wife Sita in 1987. She continues to work in the office there full-time.

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