Religion and I have had a spotty past. I loved the bible stories my mother read to me as a child (slingshots killing giants!) much the same way I enjoyed the Greek myths. But as I became old enough to understand the fire and brimstone rhetoric coming from the pulpit, religion became for me nothing more than a constant fear that I and everyone I loved was going to burn in Hell for eternity. By the time I was twelve, my parents had had enough and we stopped going to church at all.
My mistake was throwing the proverbial baby out with the bathwater. I don’t participate in any particular religion or dogma, but I have opened myself to a respect for—and a journey to—the infinite, the unknown and the sacred.
What makes something sacred? For me, it is something—whether a location, an experience or an event—that touches us in a deep place, that quiet, illusive place that gives us an inkling of timelessness, of connectiveness, of awe, of history running backward and forward in an endless circle and lets us know we are part of it and it part of us. We are it. The sacred allows us to unfold to that innate awareness of the existence of something bigger than us, something more colorful, more warm and more loving that we can describe with language. When we experience the sacred, we feel as if prior to the experience we have been walking around with blinders on, seeing only one dimension of a multidimensional world.
I experienced this feeling in Peru standing at Machu Pichu and while looking down on the Nasca Lines. I experience this feeling at the foot of the 400 year old oak trees in the nature reserve near my home. I experience this watching Louis Swartzman’s brilliant slow motion film honoring flowers and pollinators (See the link below—it’s worth five minutes of your time). The experience of the sacred is something my secular mind denied me for years. But experiences outside of logic and reason are to be had that are as valuable, if not more so, than what science can prove to us is true. Don’t deny yourself, as I did for so long, this connection to the awe.
Find your sacred place, find your totem, and travel inward. Happy journeys.