Most people have an instinctual need for sacred space – a place where we can leave the concerns and demands with the outer world and attune to the deeper pulse and rhythm of the natural world along with our own deeper rhythms and callings, and a sense of something larger and transpersonal. Whether this comes in the shape of religion, a spiritual path, connection to nature, returning to our deepest centre, or creating a space at home for reflection and meditation.. is entirely personal. One thing is for sure, in the rush of the outer world, inner chaos, or numbing out; a place to offer our thanks, dreams, awe or fears, is much needed.
Following, I’ll explore four basic ways that sacred space can be created and entered in to.
RITUAL: Ritual is one of the faculties we have, like dreaming, that enables us to set up a flow of communication between the conscious and unconscious mind. We’ve lost our sense of rituals psychological and spiritual role in our lives, but an instinctual hunger for it still remains. A ritual is a focused container for experience, or a ceremony for transformation. It usually contains a preparation, an enactment and a return. Through ritual we can invoke and touch more meaningful aspects of life. Here we can express our gratitude, hopes, fears and desires for deeper connection. Our primordial ancestors lived with regular rituals and meaningful relationship with the natural world.
A ritual can be as simple as a regular yoga practice with an intention towards practice as a vehicle of transformation, or offering practice as a form of prayer and devotion. Or, you might form a group of people to create a special ritual for a solstice, or passing of a friend, or a group intention of healing.
GROUP: When a group, no matter what size, comes together with an intention to create a space for healing or sacred/spiritual practice, it can be a powerful thing. Like minded people who align their hearts and intentions can accelerate the energy of the space through invocation of, for instance, the elements, directions, benevolent forces, the spirit of Love, and their own wise self. A group might also come together and form a sacred space through candlelight, meditation, and a sharing of dreams or stories.
THERAPEUTIC RELATIONSHIP: Working with a trusted therapist is also a way of creating sacred space for personal exploration. This might involve a space to express our pain, fears, hopes and desires within a safe and loving environment. We can tell our story and experience the accompanying feelings and emotions without judgement. With the aid of the therapist, we can transform that which no longer serves us into something with fresh vitality and meaning.
We know that underneath the conceptual mind is a wider kind of body mind sensing/knowing that contains both personal and transpersonal elements. We can recognize this level of body mind through a diffuse type of attention that can sense into subtle feeling and intuition, energy flow and a sense of interrelatedness with all creation. The body mind, as dynamic field of energy, is inherently attuned to the larger patterns and flows of the universe. Out of this attunement emerge sudden and surprising insights, creative inspirations and discoveries, as well as larger, transpersonal qualities such as clarity, compassion and joy.
INDIVIDUAL: When I’ve brought simple rituals to retreats, events or even some classes, people often respond with how much they enjoyed it and found it meaningful. It’s important to bring a sense of sacred space into your life. For me, stepping onto my ‘special’ carpet for yoga, meditation or contemplation, feels like I’ve entered into a sacred space. Years ago when I was going through a particularly difficult time, I’d bring to the carpet a few extra things to create a ritual. A small bowl of water represented that element, a stone for earth, incense for air, and a candle for fire/light. As I settled in for meditation, I’d first invoke the elements: water to help me flow through this period, earth to keep me grounded, air to help my thoughts & create space for the situation, and fire to give me energy to release & transform what needed to change. I did this a number of times over a year or more and it helped me to stay present and receptive through the most difficult period, and ultimately to make the best decisions for all involved.
I believe ritual and/or creating sacred space is a valuable tool for personal peace and for transformation. Think about how you might create a sense of sacred space for yourself. Maybe you’re able to convert a particular room where you live, or a corner of a room, or like me – setting it up fresh each time by a favourite window or special carpet with some flowers, fruit, symbols or other inspirational objects. Even just going there for a short period each day to sit and be, brings greater harmony and opens the doors to our deeper Self. We’re reminded that we are more than our thoughts, likes, dislikes and beliefs.