Make It Sacred

Screen Shot 2015-05-06 at 8.13.30 AM“How do you make a moment sacred?” I was asked recently.  I have wondered this many times myself. Do I need to light candles, dress a certain way, decorate my home and yoga spaces with certain touches, etc. The list goes on…how often have I been on the brink of “spiritual materialism;” using material objects to prove one’s spirituality?

A couple of months ago I attended a powerful poetry reading with Coleman Barks and Michael Meade. Meade was reciting some lines of Hafiz, one of which was “Everything is sacred.” I have heard such words many times but for some reason in that moment, the words struck me. I realized the simple, raw truth and a wave of relief swept through me. Yes, everything is sacred already.

The candles, clothing, and decor – can be nice, but they don’t really matter. Everything already is sacred. We are alive. It is a miracle. Every moment, every person – whether the situation is pleasant or unpleasant – is a precious gift.

It is a well-known fact in the spiritual and scientific communities, that the labels in our minds affect the way we experience the world. Quantum physicists say the world is like a cloud of potentiality. Your experience of the world is directly affected by what is in your mind. Tibetan Buddhists echo this with teachings on Shunyata or emptiness. The world is empty of any fixed way of being; people, places, objects are empty of any fixed quality or characteristic. The way we experience every object, place, or person, including ourselves, directly depends on the labels and impressions in our minds. The Indian Yogis have the term “Neti-Neti;” not this-not that. A person or object is not this or that. Your experience is based on your mind.

In the Tibetan Buddhist teachings of Mahamudra, the Buddhists suggest that we label every moment as a gift and every being as an angel. Experience life with that mind! It is a wonderful practice.

The Hindu Tantrikas encourage us to go beyond labels all together.  Let the self be in the void, the emptiness, the cloud of potentiality. Instead of the mind spilling into that space trying to label something “sacred” or “superficial,” just be in the space, the mind empty of labels and let the moment be. Let yourself be. Let the people you are with be. Let universe spill into the void and make the moment beyond you and the other. Create a line of communication between the center of your heart and the universe and let a connection, a dance, a moment simply happen.  As the mind is free of labels, it inevitably becomes free of expectation.

If we are tied to a label or an image of how something needs to look, how can we experience what is actually happening? The miracle and dynamism of every moment can so easily be missed.

Yoga and meditation can help us break free of limiting thoughts that a situation -a job, a relationship, a lifestyle – has to look a particular way. Where do those ideas come from anyway? They are most likely someone else’s.

I find when I allow my mind to be present and open, the moment goes beyond self and other and whatever the magic is that gave us life, that brings us together and that takes us apart, can be included in the moment. The magic is always there, but there is room for my mind to notice, appreciate, and be inspired to stay present.

May we become flexible in our minds as well as our bodies. May we allow ourselves and our children to enjoy a continuous experience of freedom in the mind – free of labels and expectations – allowing each other to experience life with all of its possibilities.

“What your mind dwells on, you become,” says Swami Muktananda. If you are having a tough day, I suggest practicing a meditation where you label yourself as capable, strong, and pure. If you are having a day where you feel steady and strong in yourself, I suggest a meditation practice where you let consciousness rest in the void. Leave the mind out and let universe spill in.

Namaste,
Reema

8 thoughts on “Make It Sacred

  1. Hi Reema,

    This is a great reminder.

    And I really like the last paragraph of Swami Muktananda’ s quote and your suggestion on how to focus our meditation depending on how strong we may feel.

    Thank you, as always for your wise words.

    Cecelia

    • Thank you, Cecelia. The first meditation regarding labeling the self as strong, capable and pure is inspired by Tibetan Buddhism. The second one to meditate on the void comes from Shivaic Tantrism. Both of these traditions originated in India. Some of the teachings that were becoming lost in India became preserved in Tibet and are now known as Tibetan Buddhist practices.

  2. A purified mind sees everything sacred. As the mind gets purified, perceiving things as negative gets minimized. Poise and placidity are the characterstics of the purified mind.

    • Yes…purifying the mind…a lifetime practice! As a mother, it is pretty amazing to be a witness everyday to Mila’s pure mind; free of preconceived ideas. Every moment is fresh and full of wonder. Reminds me of Mary Oliver’s line of poetry: “The world offers itself to your imagination.”

  3. Reema! I am so grateful to you for posting this blog…I too have often heard the phrase that all things are sacred. I have never stopped to really take in what that means. Again, your ability to take subtle, ancient esoteric teachings and make them relatable, understandable, give them legs for us to really understand and integrate into our lives. Thank you for breathing life into them…I am so grateful. Feeling the sacred in this magical moment. Thank you friend!

    • Thank you, dear friend! It means so much to me to have a sangha that I get a chance to share this path with. Thank you for sticking with me over the years. You are an inspiration. Deep gratitude.

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