cascade-environment-falls-2214386At first you might find that nothing happens there. But if you have a sacred space and use it, eventually something will happen. Your sacred space is where you find yourself again and again.   Joseph Campbell

I find more and more I need a place to go that takes me from the busyness of my days.  A place where I can slow down. When I slow down, I show up to myself. This is what a sacred space gives me. I was first introduced to the power of sacred spaces in Japan. Below is an excerpt from my journal while in Japan.

Shinto shrines dot my walks through the city streets of  Kyoto.  I am in awe of the gardens and temples, the sacred spaces that are throughout this city.  Lingering at a small Buddhist temple tucked between two large high rises I feel a sense of peace engulf me. I am taken by how space is used in this crowded city. Hallowed grounds are found throughout the busy city blocks in the form of Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples. In the west we build large edifices called churches and visit them once a week. The remainder of the week we lock them up for safekeeping. Sacred spaces are part of the landscape of Asia, offering quiet retreats throughout a busy day. 

I linger in a garden, one of many that grace this city.  Walking the path I look out upon a beautiful pond surrounded by trees shaped by the winds.  It is fall and the colors astound my senses.  Reds, with backdrops of gold and yellow create a kaleidoscope of exploding, vivid shapes of various hues. I hear the cuckoo bird and get lost in its melody. I cherish the comfort these gardens bring.   Sitting quietly for a moment centers me, before, once again, entering the busy stream of foot traffic. 

I learn that the natural roots of Shinto come from the ancient dwellers of Japan.  It was their response to the stunning natural environment they found. Shinto honors Earth as a partner, seeing mystery in all of Earth’s gifts. The gardens symbolize their reverence for earth and all of creation.  As I come upon Shinto shrines throughout Tokyo and Kyoto, I enter the peace these small gardens offer. The Shinto belief calls for us to harmonize with “Great Nature’.

My sacred spaces always include someplace in nature. Some people create alters in their homes as sacred space. Where do you find your sacred spaces? Take time to pay attention to when you are in a place of peace and quiet.

3 thoughts on “SACRED SPACES

  1. It’s interesting that you brought up sacred spaces because I was thinking of precisely that today when I was in my back yard relishing the beauty of the greens, the purples, the shadows that the trees produce at various points in the day. I marvel how the sun plays games with its light as the darkness of the leaves on some of the Japanese laceless maples is penetrated by the light. My heart fills with delight as the sun shines through the green of the other trees and rises up to the beauty of the blue cloudless sky. My backyard has become one of my sacred spaces. When I am out seeking the weeds that seem to really like us, I reflect on the importance of learning out the “weeds” of our thoughts that take us away from our purpose or intention. So each time I see a week, I am now reminded to check myself to see what needs to be weeded in my mindset!

    Nature anywhere has always been a soothing sanctuary for me, especially if water is involved.

    As far as structures, my most favorite place is the Santuario Church in Chimayo, New Mexico, near Santa Fe. I love the serenity and quiet of that place both inside and outside the church.

    I also find that my little dog, Pepito, is a very sacred part of my life. He seems to just know when I am meditating and rests very still on my lap.

    Thanks for this sharing Ardine. I loved learning about your experiences in Japan.


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