How We Recognize What is Sacred
We live in a world where there is a clear distinction between what is sacred and what is not. What is sacred is separate from the everyday. We have a harder and harder time finding anything which people still recognize as sacred. It is more and more challenging for us to spend time experiencing what is sacred. How do we even recognize what is sacred?
Some of us say we regularly practice listening to sacred stillness. What are the differences between sacred stillness and regular, everyday stillness? When it is a challenge to find stillness of any kind, how do we recognize what is sacred in stillness?
Does sacred stillness sound different from standard, everyday stillness? Do we need to be in a particular place to experience what is sacred? Can we open ourselves to what is sacred when we are with other people?
It is a challenge for me to find the differences between what is sacred and what is not. Some of us are able to recognize what is sacred and draw a distinction with the everyday. For me the sacred is part of our everyday lives. Everything seems to be all mixed together.
When we sit watching the sunset, listening to the stillness of the evening, is that sacred? What makes particular sights and sounds, flavors and aromas sacred to us? Is it merely a matter of our experience or the ideas we believe are true?
What helps us recognize what is sacred in the stillness?
Where do we even look or listen to discover how we recognize what is sacred?
How We Recognize What is Sacred for Us
Some of us have a very clearly defined understanding of what is sacred and what is not. We may recognize what is sacred because of its connection to specific buildings or cities. Sacred may be related to what we believe about the people and universe around us. Some of us see parts of ourselves as sacred and other parts as not sacred.
I find the sacred in all of our everyday lives. The people and circumstances which comfort and support us are sacred. There are times when situations which awaken us or surprise us can be sacred.
Sometimes what is sacred draws us closer to other people and sometimes it takes us into ourselves. I believe the universe, the world, and the people around us are full of the sacred. The sacred also lives within us.
One of my challenges is, in the midst of this vast ocean of sacredness, to recognize what is sacred for me.
Being sacred is more than bringing out an emotional or analytical response. There are places where significant things have happened to me which are not that sacred.
Sacredness is not about being inside a place of worship or even participating in a worship service. I can be surrounded by a crowd of people who find the sacred in an experience even though I do not.
I find the sacred in places I have been to again and again, and experience it the first time I visit.
Each of us recognizes sacredness in our own ways, in our own time, in each present moment.
You may resonate with what is sacred on the prairie. Other people recognize sacredness at a busy intersection downtown. We may experience the sacred in the desert or at the beach, in the forest or sitting in a rocking chair.
How We Recognize What is Sacred for Other PeopleWe experience recognizing the sacred for ourselves. Being open to ourselves and the world around us, we recognize what is sacred in that moment.
Our experience shapes our understanding of what is sacred. We listen to sacred stillness and the sacredness in the stillness embraces us. The sacred in the world around us recognizes the sacred within us. The sacred within us recognizes the sacred in the world around us.
The sacredness within us recognizes the sacredness in people around us. The sacredness in people around us recognizes the sacredness within us.
Our understanding of what is sacred grows and expands until our old definitions can no longer hold it. The metaphors we use to comprehend spiritual life become larger.
We begin to appreciate what is sacred to other people does not need to be sacred to us. The people and places we find to be sacred are not necessarily sacred for everyone.
We begin to accept more and more of everyday life as sacred for us.
When We Recognize What is Sacred
Stillness is sacred for me because it brings me into closer, deeper relationship to true life. It is sacred for me to know my true self well. Knowing who I truly am, other people, and deep, sacred truths fit together for me.
Each day we sit and listen to sacred stillness. We set aside the distractions and entertainments which pull at our attention and listen. Open to what often goes unnoticed, we listen to the stillness.
Sacred truths flow around us and fill us. Wherever we are, whenever we take time to listen, becomes sacred.
As we listen we unconsciously realize how much of life is sacred. Truth beyond our understanding flows through our lives in ways we do not understand.
We begin to realize people and things we treated as our everyday lives are sacred. Places we would hurry past are revealed to be overflowing with sacredness.
When we are open to listening we recognize everyday life is sacred. There is no point at which the sacred begins and everyday life drops away. We take time to listen and realize what is sacred about the stillness.
Sitting and listening we remember to be open to sacred stillness. Our hearts and minds are open and the power of sacredness draws us closer.
We breathe in sacred life with each breath.
When will we recognize what is sacred to us today?
How will we recognize what is sacred to other people this week?
[Image by InAweofGod’sCreation]
Greg Richardson is a spiritual life mentor and leadership coach in Southern California. He is a recovering attorney and university professor, and a lay Oblate with New Camaldoli Hermitage near Big Sur, California. Greg’s website is StrategicMonk.com, and his email address is StrategicMonk@gmail.com.