This lockdown is showing us the vital importance of having sacred space where we live. We wrote the following short article in an effort to help you create—or renew— your sacred space.
WHAT IS A SACRED SPACE?
Sacred spaces have inspired humans to be the best they can be over the ages. They rekindle our soul-awareness. They have the potential to inspire awe and help us rejuvenate.
In our busy lives we often forget about the profound healing power of silence. In our homes, we have the opportunity to create silence and serenity, and one of the easiest ways to do that is with a sacred space dedicated to the Divine. Creating an outward sacred space always helps us access our inner sacred space.
Following are steps you can take towards “turning the life you are living into the life you want to live”.
The home is a safe place where we can rest and be nourished, serve guests and enjoy the company of our friends and family. For many of us it is also a place for prayer, chanting and meditation. In some cultures, like in India, religion happens in the home, not just in temples or churches.
Sacred spaces can be created irrespective of the size of a home. Whether it is a corner in a one-bedroom dwelling or a dedicated room in a large mansion, the sacred space will have the same effect in your life.
In many cases, not everyone in a home has the same spiritual practice. But whatever your unique situation is, try to express your need for this space and then get creative—you'll be able to dedicate an entire room or carve out a little sacred niche. It will improve your life and improve your relations with those you live with.
HOW TO DEFINE A SPACE
This sacred space has to be defined and created. It can be a dedicated room within a home or an area within a room. A small area rug and a room divider can define this space.
Design your sacred space from the floor upward. This is the place where you sit to pray, chant and meditate—either on the floor with a cushion or meditation bench, or in a chair covered with a meditation blanket. To go deeper into this topic, read our blog Meditation Starts With Sitting .
Ideally, your sacred space is in the Northeast room of your home, or in the Northeast corner of a room. Situate your altar so that when you sit and face it, you are also facing East.
The altar is the heart of a sacred space. It is very personal, just for you. It can be on a small dedicated table or part of another piece of furniture. The height of an altar depends on whether you sit on the floor or on a chair so that it is close to eye level. The best surface of an altar table is usually an easy to clean material like marble, granite, or glass. If it is wood, then an altar cloth can be used to protect the surface.
Now that you have done the hard work of laying down the foundation, it's time to get creative and have fun. On this surface or on the wall above it, you can place framed photographs, statues (Murti) that represent the expression of the Divine that is closest to your heart.
Beautify the space with a favorite vase to offer fresh flowers and a diffuser for fragrant pure essential oils. A stained glass piece can be hung above your altar for color or from a nearby window for a special light in the room. Finally, accent this area with objects that rekindle divine experiences. For example, a beautiful container with dried flower petals from a sacred ceremony or a mala that you use for your daily sadhana (spiritual practice).
Make sure your altar is free from clutter, and clean it often to keep the energy fresh and lively. You may find new inspirations to beautify it or make changes. It’s a living space, part of your spiritual life that also grows and changes.
Fire: Have the fire element here with beeswax, non-toxic candles or natural oil lamps, and high quality incense. So much incense these days has toxic perfumes and other additives. It’s becoming a serious problem, causing many allergic reactions. Therefore, many of us are switching over to therapeutic-grade essential oils and diffusers.
Water: A water element can be created with a small fountain in the room, or simply with a vase of flowers that you have on the altar every day.
Earth: Using natural fiber shawls and cloths along with wood or stone tables brings in the Earth element. Plants also add beauty and the Earth element. Proper light and fresh air is very important, so it’s good to have a window nearby. You can accent that window light with Sacred Stained Glass.
Air: Fresh air is essential in a sacred space, especially if you are practicing pranayama or other breathing exercises.
Light: Natural daylight from nearby windows or skylights is ideal. You want to have some curtain options as well so that you can soften direct sunlight when you want to. At night, try to use indirect lighting that is soothing yet bright enough to reveal the beauty of your space and especially the altar.
Choose colors that invoke peace and are in harmony with your nature. Remember, this space is for you. Select colors that will draw you to that space and relax your mind and nervous system. But this isn’t a room to sleep in! You also want colors that inspire a sense of divinity and focus. In India, whites mixed with earth tones are often used. According to Paramahansa Yogananda, whites, deep blues and golds are highly spiritual colors.
SHAWLS, BEADS AND BLANKETS
Kids have their favorite blanket, and many yogis and sadhus have their favorite shawl! It’s best to have a few special shawls —for the warm and cold months— that you use solely for prayer and meditation. Keep them in your sacred space—this will also add accents of color and familiarity. Shawls—and even large scarves—can give you the feeling of “going within” which is one reason why shawls are used in meditation and prayer.
>> SHOP KRIYA & JAPA MALAS
Keep your favorite meditation malas resting on the altar. That’s the sacred place to keep them when you are not using them or wearing them. Read more about malas and prayer beads in our blog, The Use of the Sacred Mala.
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A LIVING PRESENCE
You can create, or enhance, your sacred space within a short time. But that’s not the end. Now you can enjoy it and "watch it grow"! Each time you sit in your sacred space, you create a vibration of prayer, of peace, and of communion with the Divine. And you will feel a living presence, the presence of the divine. All of your sacred items are there and they also hold vibration—the cushions, shawls, chair, benches, altar images, and prayer beads. As the vibration grows, you will notice it when you enter that space. You will feel the contrast. And gradually this new spring that you’ve tapped into will overflow into your entire living space, even your entire home.
If you have any questions about sacred space or any of our products, feel free to contact me via email firstname.lastname@example.org