Friday, January 20, 2006

Creating sacred space

It's easier to meditate in a place set aside just for that. Lama Surya Das speaks to that in his truly marvelous book "Awakening to the Sacred":
New meditation students frequently ask me whether I think they should create a special place for meditation in their home. I think it's a good idea to have such a space simply because it will help remind you of your intention and commitment to meditation. In most matters, there is something to be said for finding a personal comfort zone. The same is true of spiritual practice. Some people, for example, always go to the same church or synagogue; often they sit in exactly the same seat. There is a comfortable sense of belonging and rightness to the familiar. Although it's not absolutely necessary, when you first start a spiritual practice, it will probably help if you meditate regularly in the same place. Most people discover, as I did, that your meditation space, no matter where it is, seems to become invested with its own spiritual energy and blessings. Later you will be able to carry this atmosphere and energy with you wherever you go.

Of course, if you live in the Tulsa area, I recommend that you come to the Center for the daily meditation sittings. Here we have a place set aside just for meditation. And in addition to availing ourselves of sacred space at the Center, we have the support of the group and someone ringing the bell to help us with our practice. Everything that helps us be more faithful to our meditation practice is all to the good.

Now before I sign off here, I want to tell you about someone named Bill Butler whose life was truly changed as a result of reading the book quoted above. I found the following review on the Amazon page for Awakening to the Sacred:
I read the book. Fine. Before I read the book, I was a Libertarian for Harry Browne. After I read the book, I voted for Ralph Nader and became a "Green". Before I read the book, I no longer believed in God. After reading the book, I once again believe in God. Before reading the book, I thought that mathematics was fun - but had no real use. After I read the book, I am including the study of mathematics as part of my spiritual path.

The main point of this book, if there is one, seems to be to hammer away at our attachments. I am this...I am that... On and on and on. The biggest leap in spiritual practice seems to be to jump over the "hurdle" of logic. Lama Surya Das pounds and pounds away. Forging away for a new American Buddhism. I coughed blood many times while reading this book. "He prays to God everyday?!?" "He sees a therapist?!?" "He's one of those 'environmentalists' who have trees growing out of their ears?". "He loves 12-step meetings where they worship a Christian God?"

If you are fixated on one or many different agendas in spirituality, this book will disgust you. It disgusted me! But I kept chewing and finally swallowed it. After, of course, spitting it out several times. It's very good to upset the intellect this way. To bruise the ego. I was following into the trap of "I go by logic, therefore, I know everything!" Order and read the book. It may not be a fun read. But it's a good thing to do. Good luck (you will need it!)

Any book that can change a person from being a Libertarian to being a Green is one powerful book. I'm looking forward to reading all of it!

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