I realize that when folks think in these terms, they know full well that the Sacred is not a set of car keys or favorite necklace that, in our distraction, we misplace. Yet the words used to define a quest are important, as they unconsciously inform our approach to it.
If we see the Divine as something out there, we inadvertently reinforce a belief in a great dividing chasm, thus furthering a sense of separation. If we begin instead with the idea that the world and each moment of our lives are infused with the Holy, a different response is engendered.
With the latter perspective, we need only find ways to recognize what already is.
How do we perceive and, more importantly, increase our experience of the great Mystery? A vital first step is through enhancing our ability to pay attention.
This is no easy task as our brains are adept at creating fantasies that sweep us away. How often do we only vaguely perceive our surroundings ~~when driving down the road, for example~~while internally projecting ourselves into various imagined scenarios?
A reorientation is needed, away from thoughts that carry us out of the present and toward a direct experience of what is. Here are a few suggestions to increase the skill of living in the here and now.
- Look for small moments within each day to come to an inner stillness. As we wash a dish, brush our teeth, or gaze out the window, for example, we could do so with full awareness.
- Greet loved ones and coworkers authentically. No matter the specifics of history or personality, as we say hello we could open to the divine spark present in the other and within our interaction.
- Post evocative words or sacred images in places you will often see them. In this way, the bathroom mirror, refrigerator door, or computer screen act as reminders, pulling us deeper into the vast Mystery inherent in the present moment.
- Make a commitment to open to the Divine for whatever specific period each day fits your life. Remember, whether you sit in receptive silence or read from a sacred text, it is far wiser to do so for 5 minutes each day than to set unrealistic goals that are abandoned in a few weeks.
One of the paradoxes of life is that the force which shapes and propels the vast universe itself is present, too, within the tiny moments of our own small lives. It is the task of our evolving consciousness to grow in awareness of that reality, and to increase our full experience of it as well.
Sleeping and awakening are both part of the human experience. Perhaps it is time to give our awakening the greater share.
Have a lovely week!