Tonight I was lucky enough to catch a discussion by a wonderful woman, Heatherleigh, whom runs a local business in my area, The Boston Tearoom. Tonight she was discussing the idea of a Sacred Space and talking about how to create one and cultivate that inner space and reflection. The blurb for the talk was based around the lecture series done by Virginia Woof called “A Room of One’s Own”. The idea is that when we have a space to ourselves and use it for quiet reflection and meditation we are more open and able to realize our deeper intuitive natures.
I attended for a variety of reasons, different perspectives, connections, and widening my social and networking groups (although I have been in the mists of networking for years, I am fairly new at it regarding myself and my passions). Anyway, the point is for the most part I walked in looking to learn more about the people attending and making the connections there after. I had an idea in my head about what the talk was going to be about. Being of a devote alternative spiritual background my whole life, I had always had at least two alter spaces in which I prayed and meditated at. To me the whole idea of a sacred space was an alter, a place of peace and worship. As far as I was concerned in every spiritual practice I had ever studied that had been the case; and so though I thought I might pick up a detail here and there; but over all I was there to meet people.
Nonetheless as the discussion progressed I realized something. Though there was nothing wrong with my ideal of a sacred space, yet there was so much more to it that I had neglected. Yes it was a space of meditation and reflection, of reading and writing. However it did not need to be circled around spiritual practices, it did not even need to be a physical space.
Heatherleigh started the discussion explaining that the local library had asked her to do some talks/workshops regarding the idea of spring cleaning, and the first thing that had popped into her head was the idea of creating a sacred space. Then she created a few ideas in our minds about different sacred spaces we could create in our homes, and how to deal with cohabitation and living situations where it would be difficult to do. Two things caught me off guard right away, the idea that sacred spaces had an element of cleansing, and that they did not have to focus around an idea of prayer; but rather just needed to have some reverence about them to the person they belonged to.
She continued in saying that this space does not even need to be a physical one, although it helps if you have one; but it can also be a time of day with a particular practice and self-reflection process. For me this point hit home the hardest. I still have two alter spaces in my home, however I do not have a ‘space’ so to say that is dedicated to just reflection. Yet I do have the morning hours, where I meditate, practice asana, read from Spiritual based text, journal, and a mirage of other practices in the early hours before the sun or any other human rises in my home.
More and more studies are coming out discussing the benefits of being a spiritual or at least a self-reflective person. By taking this time out every day we allow ourselves to sink deep into the inner most part of our beings, and realize all the parts that make up our manifestation. Though not only the time is important, but the practice of having a space to reflect in causes deeper understanding and reflection. When we have a space we dedicate ourselves to, two things happen. One our brains begin to recognize the physical manifestations around us and settles into the thought process quicker; much like lighting the same incense every time we meditate and sinking into a meditation faster each time via memory. Second we have created a space in which we feel safe and our defenses drop. When this happens we not only have the opportunity to relax without the daily mask, but we are given the chance to be honest with ourselves.
Creating a sacred space is easy, and well worth the effort. First make sure it is a space that is just for you, whether it be a time of day or a physical manifestation. It is important that it is just for you, because once another person’s energy begins to mix with it, it can destroy the feeling of security and you may loose your chance to relax and be truthful. Second fill it with things that are connective and special to you, things that make you reverent to yourself and those energies you find grater than you (ancestors, your God Head, etc.). These can be items of great importance, a journal, anything that moves an emotion so deep in you when you connect that you can not hold it back for anything. Then include a chair, some nature, and a table. Nature can be potted plants, collections from nature walks, flowers, being in front of a window, etc. Finally add some sort of ritual of respect for every time you enter into your space. Personally I bow before my alter – signaling that I am about to start practice – and say either a set of malas, or just a repetition of a mantra three times. This furthers the separation between you and the material world and tells your brain you are about to enter into that reflective space.
Carving out a space or time for yourself is important. Particularly if you practice yoga, self study and study of spiritual texts deepens the practice and self growth. Taking the time out even weekly can create a huge difference in your life. It can deepen and further relationships, create a deeper sense of purpose, help you bounce back from problems quicker, and it also can reinforce positive thoughts and lifestyle. Personally I have also found it to keep me on my path and deepen my convictions about my life choices and spiritual path. I encourage you to take the time out, breath, and reconnect.
Practice in Peace and Love ❤