"Life is a sacred adventure. Every day we encounter signs that point to the active presence of Spirit in the world around us. Spiritual literacy is the ability to read the signs written in the texts of our own experience. Whether viewed as a gift from God or a skill to be cultivated, this facility enables us to discern and decipher a world full of meaning.

"Spiritual literacy is practiced in all the world's wisdom traditions. Medieval Catholic monks called it "reading the book of the world." Muslims suggest that everything that happens outside and inside us is a letter to be read. Native Americans find their way through the wilderness by "reading sign." From ancient times to today, spiritually literate people have been able to locate within their daily life points of connection with the sacred. . . .

"Is spiritual literacy difficult? Are there any prerequisites? Do you need to have reached some state of enlightenment to be able to decode the world? Some traditions do see such understanding as a gift or "awakening," but we believe it is a skill that can be developed. . . .

"As we have gathered material for this volume, we have tried to imagine what it would be like to be illiterate, unable to read a book, a sign on the highway, a menu at a restaurant, or a story to a child. We would have to engage in tricks and evasions just to get through many everyday activities that require reading skills. We would know that books open the door to the information and inspiration we need for personal independence and fulfillment, but we would not have access to them.

"Being spiritually illiterate would put us in a similarly dim and shallow world. If we could not read the signs of Spirit in daily life, we would not see the web which connects us with other people and the natural world. We would miss those intimations of "something more" that are possible in our work, our leisure, and our relationships. Like other illiterates, we would find ourselves trying to compensate and cover up for what we sense is a real void in our lives. We would know that everything around us contains signs and wisdom, but we just wouldn't get it.

"Spiritually literate people from our time and earlier eras assure us that this need not be our reality. As you explore the readings in this book, you will see how spiritual literacy changes your perspective on life. Your body is a temple of God, and your home is holy ground. Your encounters with others reveal your connection with the Oneness, and your activities put you in touch with Spirit and enable Spirit to work through you."