Creating a sacred space
Creating sacred space for meditation, prayer or worship can make a differenceSometimes it seems as though the stress of our busy modern life is closing in from all sides. For many of us, our spiritual life is one of the few things that can help us deal with the pressure.
In earlier times, people would head to church, a synagogue, mosque or sacred grove to commune with their Creator. But between work and family and that long commute, few of us have the luxury of visiting a house of worship during the workweek. And increasingly, our weekends are packed, too.
Maybe that's why the idea of creating sacred space in our homes, in our yards and at work is becoming more and more popular. Some people are even looking for ideas for making a sense of sacred space portable so we can pack it with us for vacations, family visits and business trips. We want to bring the sense of connection with the divine with us, no matter where we might be.
Although everyone has slightly different space, different needs and different faiths, here are some ideas to get you started on bringing the sacred to you. Find a source for religious decor that speaks to your beliefs and incorporate pieces into your home and office.
The Sacred Space at Home
If you have an extra room in your home, count yourself blessed. Creating an altar, prayer space or meditation area is much easier when you can designate an entire room to your needs. But a even a small space to one side of the room can work well, too.
You may want to set the area off with a beautiful area rug, especially if your religious practice includes kneeling or sitting on the ground. A pillow or cushion to sit upon is another basic element of many meditation spaces and personal altars. If a chair is more comfortable for you, select one that's comfortable even if you spend a long time seated. You can add pillows or a throw, too.
Most people need a shelf or cabinet to store spiritual books, prayer rugs, prayer shawls and other things essential to their practice. If you're creating a personal altar as a way of building your sacred space, select something that will be comfortable to view from your cushion or chair.
Decorate your space with items that have meaning for you. You might want to include symbols of your faith like a cross, a statue, or an icon. Hanging an inspiring tapestry or work of art above your art will reinforce the purpose of your space.
You can also add personal items that inspire you like framed family pictures, items from nature like seashells, real or silk flowers, prayer beads, scented candles or items that have meaning only to you.
A small Mp3 player loaded with inspiring music or nature sounds is another wonderful touch.
Sacred space at work
Work is where most of us spend most of our days, so we need reminders of the sacred there, too. How elaborate (or simple) your decorations at work will be depends on the type of workplace (public facing or employees only) and the rules about displaying personal items.
In general, overtly religious symbols are not appropriate for the workplace. But that doesn't mean you can't create a sense of space. A photo of a beautiful spot in nature, a few small stones, a tiny bell or a flameless candle are all non-religious things that can still inspire a sense of the divine.
You can place the items around your desk or cubicle, or arrange them in one spot on a pretty glass tray or in an attractive bowl. If you're not allowed to keep personal items in plain sight, arrange them in a drawer next to your chair. All you have to do is open the drawer to see your tiny altar.
Make the most of your at-work space by setting a timer for once or twice a day on your computer, watch, phone or tablet. When the timer goes off, spend a minute or two breathing deeply and contemplating your symbols of devotion.
Sacred Space on the Road
Even when luggage space is tight, you can make a hotel room or guest room feel special by bringing symbols of the sacred with you. A small tin or box can eaily hold a folded cloth, tiny statutes or pictures, essential oils, a candle (or flameless candle), and a vial of holy water or consecrated oil.
Setting it up as soon as you arrive allows you to dedicate an unfamilar space, turning a plain room into a sacred place.
Make it Yours
Only you know what will turn a room, corner cabinet or tabletop into a sacred space. Try different elements and see what works for you. That simple act might be just what you need to make something ordinary into something extra-ordinary.