What Is Sacred?

March 15, 2011

Last weekend I was part of a retreat, “A Gathering of Curious Souls,” facilitated by Niro Markoff. On Friday evening, she asked us to go within and consider the question, “What is sacred?” .  I had thought to write how I have found that I enter sacred space when I remove my clothes, but that evening I looked up the word “sacred” in Miriam Webster Online, and it gave me a new insight into the word. Early Saturday morning, after meditating – sitting naked , as I usually do, for twenty minutes – I wrote the following.

The word “sacred” comes from the past participle of the Middle English verb sacren, which means consecrated. That which is sacred is that which has been consecrated. There is a deliberate, volitional act either by man or God. I make something sacred when I consecrate it – and I discover what is sacred when I look for that which has been set apart in service of God.

But what is God?

Osho said, “Have no other god by Life itself.” And Martin Buber said, “When two people relate to each other authentically and humanly, God is the energy the surges between them.”

That which is sacred is that which promotes life. Water is sacred, but when it is polluted it no longer supports life – it is profaned.

Our task is to realize that the whole earth is consecrated to life, and to preserve and restore the sacredness of the earth by cleansing it of that which does not support life. By a deliberate choice to do this we make our lives sacred. By a deliberate choice to relate “authentically and humanly” we make our relationships sacred.

Niro will lead another retreat at Easton Mountain, October 7-11.

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