We will discover that everything around us, all matter,
consists of and stems from a divine energy
that we are beginning to see and understand.
James Redfield, The Celestine Prophecy
You may recall visiting a remote, exotic place that was sublime. You were transported beyond all mundane affairs. Stoned without drugs, you could feel a vibrant energy flowing through you that was clearly divine. In such a state, you could see God.
You may not now be in a position to visit the most celebrated places, such as the Great Pyramid, Stonehenge, Mount Kailash, Mt. Fuji, Machu Picchu or the Grand Canyon. You may even be far away from a national park.
What do you do?
A sacred space can be outdoors, such as gorgeous beach on Maui, or indoors, such as within Chartres Cathedral. It typically entails trees and vegetation, coupled with large bodies of water. For so many of us, magic seems to lie in the forest by the sea. Often, there will be unusual rock formations and geological pressure points, or meridians. The sacred energy can be very physical.
Often sacred space is defined by the energy given and received over many generations. Think of Mount Sinai, Jerusalem, Mecca or Varanasi. If a place has been supersaturated with prayer and meditation, it resonates in a deep place within you. Entire religions were established in such places.
Sacred space is also internal. You might visit the catacombs of the Christian martyrs in Rome and laugh at all the bones. You would miss the whole point. You don’t know anything about it and don’t even care. For you as a tourist, it is all spectacle. Contrast this with a pilgrim who knows her journey is as much an inward, as it is an outward, trek.
Today, the majority of people around the world live in cities. In highly developed countries, many of us will spend over 90% of our lives indoors. We are increasingly out of touch with creation. Our world is all manufactured. We are reduced to our socio-economic status.
That which is sacred is, by definition, that which is set apart, that which is very special to us. Without a sense of the sacred, which may simply entail holding a newborn infant, we have lost all sense of perspective. To be human is to experience disappointment, anxiety, apprehension and distress. We need a place of refuge where we feel totally free to be ourselves.
We weren’t born into the earth so much as we came out of it. We are integrally enmeshed in all the winds and waves and tremors. As Chief Seattle advised a century ago, we are not apart from our Mother, we are a part of our Mother. What happens to her, happens to us. The way out is to re-enchant our world and sanctify our lives.
Sacred space can be found all over the world. Power spots, such as Sedona, Arizona, make it much easier to detect. Our planet is a conscious being, as demonstrated by the Gaia theory. Wherever people commune with Her, there she is. Just think of Carlos Castaneda with Don Juan in upper Mexico.
Sacred space may appear to you in a local park, a placid pond or even an old building. Chances are you can walk to the nearest sacred space. What is essential is that it speaks to you. Open up your senses: hear, see, smell, touch, taste. It will seem vibrantly alive. James Redfield’s The Celestine Prophecy Movie illustrates this process in exquisite detail.
James Redfield observes that synchronicity is the divine guidance system that leads us to our destiny. When you arrive, you have the experience that, as strange as it seems, everything is perfect just as it is. When you unexpectedly see the same person or thing three times in one day, you should consider that as a sign and look deeper.
When you finally experience the sacred, go with it. Just let your monkey mind rattle on without give it too much attention. Close your eyes and tune into your intuition. If you have a meditation practice, deploy your mantra. If you pray, expect God to talk back to you with the still, small voice.
Saint Francis, perhaps the greatest Christian ever, after a futile military escapade that brought him back to Assisi in shame, stumbled upon an old, crumbled church outside the city walls. He heard a voice telling him to “rebuild My Church.” Francis did literally that. With his own hands and those of friends, he rebuilt that little church and invited marginalized people to share it.
Because Saint Francis learned to optimize that little space, he opened up the great space, inspiring the Roman Catholic Church for centuries, such that the latest Pope chose his name to embody his ultimate vision. You never know the heights to which you are called when you open up to the Transcendent.
Each of us can create our own sacred space wherever we find ourselves, inside or out. We need to first tune into divine energy, which is everywhere. Visiting a famous holy site will definitely establish the impetus. How many Catholics were transfixed by visiting Lourdes, the famous site of miraculous healing? How many disgruntled Westerners found themselves in India, where a whole new Universe opened up to them?
It might simply be a corner of your living room where you meditate with a pillow. You might keep flowers, pictures and books nearby. Essentially, it becomes an alter or shrine within your very own home. The more consistently you use it, the more special it becomes. When you sit down there, it automatically elevates you to the right frame of mind.
Even the greatest people who ever lived needed a place of their own. For Buddha, it was the Bodhi tree under which he sat seven days. For Moses, it was Mount Sinai in the wilderness, where he first tended sheep. For Christ, it was the Garden of Gethsemane. For Muhammad, it was the remote cave, Hira, where he retreated for years until he heard the Archangel’s voice.
Finding and creating sacred space shifts your values and priorities over to the inner life, the spiritual, even the mystical. You begin to look at financial assets more as a way of buying freedom to pursue what truly matters to you, and less for display or conspicuous consumption.
With a sacred space, you can withstand even the most bitter assaults of life, even when you seem to lose everything. I recently met an inspiring woman mystic, Miranda Macpherson, who entered the cave of Ramana Maharshi and heard a voice telling her to hold onto nothing, even her very identity. At great cost to herself, she did just that, and became a living garden of delight to everyone who encounters her.
When you spend enough time in your own sacred space, you will open up to the possibility that, not only the Holy Land, but the entire planet is sacred, and ultimately, the Universe, itself.