Monday, January 28, 2008

Creating Sacred Space Externally

While every piece of this earth is sacred and full of vitality, it gives my spirituality an immediacy to designate one small corner of it as my sacred space. You see, I need help awakening. I forget--again and again--the true nature of life and of myself within that life.

Decades ago while still in my teens, I created my first sacred place. In our small home, I carved out a spot in the foyer beside our little used front door, just big enough for a tiny meditation rug. That was the extent of the trappings, and it was on that small rug that I first sat regularly and practiced meditation while my family slept.

In most of my dwellings since then, I’ve had space likewise dedicated to accessing this inner realm. The months or years I did not seem now to have been spiritually dry times, each one ending with the creation of another space for my awakening.

Often, as at the first, my space was small and unobtrusive. Other times, my life allowed larger places--even a whole room at one point--complete with altars and other sacred objects whose purpose was to remind me of the mystery I exist within. These spaces each fit the life that produced them and changed as I changed. I believe that is the key.

Sacred space must be alive, as you are alive. Since it springs from your center, it will be unique to you and look like no one else’s. While there are few ‘shoulds’ in this, I do think this space ought to be a reflection of you as you are at this moment in your journey, filled with the items that evoke the awareness you wish to cultivate. Be creative. Be playful. Any item that gives you that ‘Ahhh...’ feeling is worthy of inclusion.

As a living thing, a sacred space should evolve as you do. And it requires a respectful tending. While I doubt I would ever again abandon my commitment to having a sacred space, sometimes I do let mine become stale--a bit too dusty or dog-hair covered, with items that have ceased to speak to me. Then it’s time for an overhaul and a thorough cleaning. I always feel better afterward.

If you are new to meditation or haven’t yet had the joy of your own sacred space, create one now. If you are a lapsed sacred space creator, return to it. And if you have one now, perhaps it’s time to refurbishment it, give it a bit of polish.

They say you can tell a lot about a person from the layout of their home. What does yours say about you? How could it better reflect a commitment to your soul’s journey? The wonderful thing about a space dedicated to Spirit is that, through repeated use, simply BEING there evokes a sense of the Holy.

When we’re fully enlightened, we will be so anywhere. In the meantime, most of us could use a bit of help. Good luck, and I’d love to hear about your efforts.


Loanne Marie

PS. For a related topic, please see Creating Sacred Space Internally

Monday, January 21, 2008

Awakening to the Garden

I’ve just finished meditating. This one was a near continuous process of bringing myself back, again and again, from wherever my spinning mind had carried me. This type of sitting experience has been compared to training a puppy, who loves nothing more than to traipse from the path into that inviting lake, or this patch of brambles, and needs to be introduced to the joys of staying put.

There’s another metaphor, though, that fits a bit better for me. When I have one of these sittings, I’m reminded of the story of the disciples in the Garden of Gethsemane who, despite a direct request from their beloved Jesus, simply could not remain awake. This story captures my all too usual state of mind. Whether in my meditation or my daily life, I fall asleep regularly, despite my intention to retain a simple awareness. Whether I’ve succumbed to dreams of the past or future while meditating, or find myself responding as though some minor inconvenience or annoyance were a BIG DEAL, I’ve fallen asleep once again to the truth of life as it is.

I know I’m not alone; I realize this is part of the human condition. I believe, in fact, that it is the essence and a main purpose of the human experience. As I have grown within my own life and heard the stories and struggles of others, I have come to trust that one of our main purposes for being on earth is to develop our ability to live as truly awakened beings--aware and conscious--and to have our behavior, and even our thoughts, come from that conscious awareness.

Now, while being asleep comes easily to us humans, thankfully, so does the desire to awaken. This desire may present itself simply as a thirst for a richer, more soulful life. Or it may arrive through some sort of inner or outer strife that seems to want to pull us kicking and screaming into wakefulness. Either way, an opportunity is presented.

I’m encouraged by the fact that, for as many times as I fall asleep, just that often do I awaken again. My meditation practice is designed only to extend the amount of time I spend awake. And each time I come to and see the garden of my own life spread out around and within me, I have reinforced the joy of experiencing life as it is.

So, here’s to waking again and again!


Loanne Marie