Honouring That Which is Sacred:
Shabbat, the celebration of the Sabbath which starts at sundown on Friday and ends at sundown on Saturday was a great gift.
Those who turn their noses down at all organized religion often made comments about how silly it is to think that God, (if there even is one) would care what you do on Friday night. Whether you light candles, drink wine or eat bread or not, how can it really matter?
And if you did those things why would God care what kind of bread you eat? What is the difference between two carefully braided loaves of challah and say Wonder bread? Or a good healthy whole wheat? Why is one thing sacred and not the other?
I understood though, without fully having the language I have today, that all ritual in all religion is about mindfulness. It is about intentionally, and consciously bringing the sacred into every day life.
Saying blessings over lighting candles, drinking wine, washing hands and breaking bread with loved ones has nothing to do with winning favour with God. It has everything to do with stopping for a 7th of each week and being mindful of all that you have. And what could be better than good food, and good friends singing songs of joy around a beautifully set table each week?
I have a co-worker, of Aboriginal decent who was telling us recently that he never takes anything from the earth; food, or a fish caught in a lake without giving something back. The tradition: Tobbaco.
It doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense in this day and age until you stop and ask the question, “what kind of world would we live in today had we always given something, even something purely symbolic back to the Earth every time we took something?”
I can only imagine that there would be a lot less greed, consumption and destruction if we had committed to that way of thinking. The whole point, is that there would be a lot more mindfulness. If we thought more deeply about what we do and the consequences of what we do, I don’t see how everyone wouldn’t be better off.
On the whole I am quite certain that we could all use a little more, wait… make it a lot more of the sacred in our lives. A lot more conscious choosing of what we will declare and preserve as precious.
So often, we move though our lives at a rapid pace, working, travelling, consuming and worrying our way out of connecting with where we are, and what we are doing.
What we value in life, so often has been taught to us and we haven’t stopped to think about whether the things we value most really are important.
Lately, I have begun to notice that it doesn’t matter who you talk to or what their circumstances are, we all seem to have 2 things in common. We’re all too busy, and no-one has enough money.
Whoa! That cannot be true can it? Are we all equally busy, and broke?
I know people who make 3 or 4 times as much as I do who complain about money.
And not being a math genius, I may be wrong but I don’t understand how we can all be busier than each other?
The reality is, that we live in a world that tells us constantly that we don’t have enough, and quite frankly, if you’re not busy, you’re probably lazy, which is pretty much the bottom of the totem pole in today’s world.
I wonder if the world would come to a sudden end if we decided to slow down and create some space for the sacred. My guess is that it would become better, but at the very least, it would become better for us.
This past weekend, we had a family gathering to celebrate two birthdays. We always have a great time when we are together, but of course with all of our crazy schedules the gatherings don’t happen often enough.
At least we are all grateful when they do.
I was reminded of the sacred by a moment that I managed to capture on camera. It is a photo that I see myself cherishing for a long time to come. An image captured by my phone of all things and it will serve as a reminder of what is really important in life.
Truthfully, there is really nothing better than a baby to melt away your problems and stress and just allow you the space to stop and stare in wonder… unless of course it happens to be your baby.
The thing is, we don’t all get to spend time with babies. (This was an anomaly for us as this baby is not part of our family).
We do however get to spend time outside. We can take a moment with a tree, a squirrel, a fluffy cloud that grabs our attention. Simply feeling the sun warming your face or the wind whistling through your hair can be a sacred moment if we choose to pay attention and make it so.
A moment with a child of any age, quality time spent with a partner saying thanks for all that you have, even if you feel that you don’t have enough. These are all ways of connecting and consciously choosing the sacred.
As I write this, I am thinking of ways that I could continue to create sacred space in my life. Practising gratitude, stopping to smell the flowers, appreciating the view before me, I do these things regularly and yet I realize, that there is always room for more.
How can I give back to the Earth for each thing I take? How can I be more mindful in each moment so that I catch the sacred when it occurs? How can I bring more sacred moments into my life, or better yet, offer more sacred moments to others?
I am going to ponder this, and I am also going to make a real effort to open my eyes as wide as I can so that I am awake, and aware, and the sacred becomes the priority.
Anyone care to join me?