What is a Sacred Place?
Ask this question to anyone and most people would think about Temples, Mosques and Churches; some would think about cities like Jerusalem, Mecca, Vatican City, Varanasi, or Bodh Gaya; others might think about Shrines like the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes; a few might think about rivers like the River Ganges in India; still others might think about human structures like Stonehenge or the Pyramids. The list is to wide that many mystics consider the earth as a sacred place including everything in it. Yes, you are also part of that list—you are sacred. I know some of you might not feel like it right now since you are trying to save your marriage or have a divorce; you may have just lost your job and you are homeless; you have many unpaid bills and you are depressed or anxious; you've gambled away all your money and you do not know what to do; you may have just lost a loved one or you are having a very tough time. My heart is sad for you but the good news is that everything passes away. In other words this is not the end of your life; actually I think it is the beginning because according to John Bunyan, author of the Pilgrim's Progress, “he (or she) that is down needs fear no fall”.
Yes, the whole Earth is sacred so there is no need to travel to a foreign land just to be in a sacred place because the place you are sitting or standing right now is a sacred place. You do not feel that your house for example is sacred simply because you have always seen it as a house. If you could change the focus of the eye you'd see what you did not see like Arjuna in the Bhagavad Gita when Lord Krishna gave him a spiritual eye in order to see the Lord as GOD of the Universe. Further you do not see your city as a sacred place because someone has already setup his city as a sacred place and he wants you to visit it every year and help him to improve his economy. The truth is that you can also do the same and invite the world to your city because your city is also sacred. However if you want to make your city or your house exude sacredness you need to set it up. Look for a possible sacred place in your city and decorate it according to the beliefs of your people. Likewise you could also set aside a place in your home and make that place your sacred place.
Purpose of a Sacred Place
Why should I have a sacred place you might ask? Have you ever got up in the morning and started using your cell phone or some other gadget? Have you ever got out of bed and not knowing what to do with your life? Have you ever woke up in the morning and went straight to work? Have you ever started your day with all the challenges that you face before you? If you answered yes to any of the above questions you are not alone, but you could change it. Your sacred place could help you to organize your life and later help you to create the circumstances that you want in your life instead of being driven by circumstances that seem outside your control.. Your sacred place could also be a place of refuge where you could feel safe, rejuvenated, and reassured after a day of challenges. Further your sacred place could also be a place you associate with inspiration, miracles, love, joy, motivation, success, peace, happiness, achievement, health and wellness! Make your sacred place a part of your daily life and reap uncountable rewards.
Sacred Place Within
There is a sacred place within all of us, a place we could go and temporarily detach ourselves from the demands and challenges of the world. The advantage of this place is that we could retire into this place at any time and at any place. Here you could practice deep breathing, do relaxation meditation, do visualization meditation or just be there and be still for as long as it takes. Being still for the beginner might not be easy but if you keep on practicing it you could perfect it in no time. In the Bhagavad Gita Arjuna was also concerned about the uncontrollability of the mind but Lord Krishna taught him that it takes practice. Like most things you could become better with practice.
Place for your Sacred Place
You could have your sacred place at a corner of your bedroom, a corner of your Living Room, or a corner of your Child’s room. You could also have your Sacred Place outside your home in a secluded place by a river, a mountain, or in the woods. Here you might not need any accessories. Any natural environment could reflect images of peace and unity. The whole idea of spiritual practice is actually to unite with all things or Yoga. When you are in a natural environment like by a river for example and you begin to lose consciousness of your existence and merge with the river; at that moment you are in unity with all that is. The sacred place in your home might not compare with a natural environment but you could set it up in such a way as to give you the same feelings you get by meditating in a natural environment. Thus it is important to setup your sacred place in such a way that it invites you to enter the place each time you see it or pass by it.
In his PBS presentation on the Power of Myth Bill Moyers asked “What does it mean to have a sacred place?” Here is what Joseph Campbell said:
A sacred place is a necessity for everybody. You must have a room or a certain hour a day or so where you do not know what was in the newspapers that morning, you don’t know who your friends are, you don’t know what you owe to anybody, you don’t know what anybody owes you; but a place where you can simply experience and bring forth what you are---what you might be. This is the place of creative incubation. At first you might find that nothing is happening there, but if you have a sacred place and use it and take advantage of it something will happen. The Power of Myth, Page 115
I was first introduced to the Sacred Place by the Alpha Mystery School in the seventies. Most, if not all Mystery Schools introduce neophytes to the Sacred Place. The idea is to help the student to study with concentration. The Sacred Place makes it easy for anyone to sit, close the eyes and just be there. You could be there for as long as you want. Sitting still and doing nothing could be uncomfortable at the beginning but if you consistently use your Sacred Place you would ask why no one told you about the sacred place when you were born. It is that important in your life!
I want you to note what Joseph Campbell said about the sacred place: This is the place of creative incubation. At first you might find that nothing is happening there, but if you have a sacred place and use it and take advantage of it something will happen.
Yes, something could happen! The Sacred Place could help you to reconnect with with yourself or with your life. You could almost handle anything when you reconnect with your life because the wisdom of life is within you. However you need to use your sacred place regularly in order to activate the wisdom within you. I cannot over emphasize the importance of the Sacred Place in your life. Thus if your life means anything to you I encourage you to setup, dedicate and use your Sacred Place? You could change your life forever!
My Sacred Place Experiences
The Sacred Place was part of my life until I got married. As I said earlier I was introduced to the sacred place by the "Alpha Mystery School". Generally I used it for meditation in the morning after a shower and in the evening before I went to sleep. I also used it for reflection, I mean to re-examine issues that I could not resolve more especially issues from work. I was working in the bank at the time. Lastly I used my sacred place for studying spiritual literature and the lessons from the "Alpha Mystery School". Thus the sanctum, as it is called in the mystery schools, was a present part of my life and it felt good.
When we got married my wife was a Christian and I did not want to introduce something that is alien to her at the beginning of our marriage so I packed everything and put them away. We lived happily for about 20 years. Then my life changed from one who has been happy all his life into one that became concerned about living. At the same time my sister passed on and it looked like I was really falling apart with negative thoughts and questioning my existence. I could not see any reason to live if the people that meant a lot to me were dying. To say the least I was really depressed and hopeless for the first time in my life!
I became reactive and unhappy. It was clear that I was sick in my inner world. Meanwhile a thought flashed through my mind to setup my Sacred Place. After about a couple of months or so I summoned up the courage and looked for the boxes containing the materials. I did not set it up that day because there was no spare desk and I didn’t have a table cloth. After about another month or so I acquired a desk and a table cloth and setup my Sacred Place again.
The moment I set it up my disposition changed. It seemed as though a positive energy passed through me. About two days after I setup the Sacred Place and used it our daughter came to my office to visit. The moment she saw me she said "Daddy you are happy". "Yes, I am happy", I said and I shared what I did to change my life.
I know we all have our ways of looking at things but in most cases we look at things from the perspective of the culture in which we grew up. The truth is that until you look at things from YOUR OWN WAY you’ll continue to recycle the thoughts of your culture and possibly miss out on the blessings of life. I am trying my best to share a way of life that is not often talked about but this way of life could be the catalyst for a well adjusted life!
You have tried many things and failed in the past because they didn’t come from you; they came from the society in which you grew up. Remember that mystics often leave the world to discover an inner world of peace, joy and happiness. What I am sharing is a way of life that puts you on the driver’s seat. Thus instead of trying different things from different so-called gurus to find out what works; why not begin a way of life that works all the time!
A way of life that surrounds you with love! A way of life that motivates you! A way of life that prospers you! A way of life that gives you peace! A way of life that makes you happy! Above all, a way of life that expands your consciousness! That way of life begins by setting up your Sacred Place and using it daily.
For a small donation we will send you Spiritual Living Wisdom of Mystics to help you to setup and dedicate your sacred place. Welcome to UNISM and Thanks