A Zen teacher recently stated that, “The whole world is sacred. So everything that is in it is sacred. How do we designate things as sacred? Sacred is simply the act of declaring it so in our hearts. Ideally to all things.”
of us might have difficulty accepting that all
things are in fact sacred. We are
used to being far more discerning and selective about what we consider to be sacred. Sacred is to give an object an added meaning
and value well beyond its intrinsic function.
It can be applied to secular as well as religious objects. Designating an object as sacred can cause us
to focus and draw out our thoughts, energies and feelings in a responsive manner
not otherwise possible.
the religious person sees the Ark of the Covenant or the Holy Grail as objects
which embody the whole of that particular religious Founder himself. A house of worship is defamed when attacked
by warriors or vandals because one believes that is where God and humans come
together. The burning of a book of
religious teachings instigates rioting by true believers in the words of the
we designate as sacred those lands and buildings where great tragedies or
suffering occurred, seeking through such a designation a way to somehow make
sense, if not mentally reverse, what happened there. So “Ground Zero” in New York City and the
Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City are memorialized as sacred places to
try to compensate for the incomprehensible acts that happened there. Similarly, the battlefields of Gettysburg,
Normandy and countless other such sites, and the killing ovens at Auschwitz and
numerous other places of slaughter, are given high sacredness in direct
counterbalance to the lowliness of humans’ descent into inexplicable inhumanity.
our patriotism gives an almost mystical cloak around one of the few remaining
copies of our Declaration of Independence, or a tattered 200-year-old American
flag flown at Fort McHenry. Patriotic
pilgrimages are made to the places of great events – Valley Forge, Appomattox,
the USS Arizona – just as religious pilgrimages are made to the holiest of
spiritual places the world over. In each
and every profession or art form, those objects that constitute the ultimate
iconic achievements of those endeavors are treated as if godly themselves.
on our Native-American reservations and in Buddhist meditation halls,
sacredness is not subdivided into a selection of particular objects peculiar to
the individual person. All things are
from the Great Spirit Creator, fulfilled through Nature’s Life Force, made universal
in application by all forms of earthly life.
All life appreciates all other forms of life, and respects the inherent
value and purpose in each. Thereby, all
that we see, touch and know is made sacred.
Even when we are called upon to interfere in an object’s natural course
of being – as when we must terminate a life or mar the face of God’s earth –
one does so with care and empathy.
Because the sacredness in us honors the sacredness in all other things.
what is sacred to you? And if it is not
“everything,” what are you leaving out?