Creating Holy Space
We have the opportunity to create a space of worship. Not a space filled with doctrine and dogma or religion. Not an experience of trying to abandon this place where we are. We have the opportunity of reclaiming our own personal experience of worshiping what is most sacred to us, what deserves to be honored as most High for us.
Worship is often seen as a quiet, prayerful space, but that’s not the criteria for me. It can be quiet and prayerful but, most importantly, it is a place where the highest is welcomed. When that is agreed upon, we create holy space together and allow what is fresh and new to be born in the midst of it.
It is common for people to dismiss or disbelieve their ability to create holy space. In many religions it is taught that only the priests or hierarchy of the church are capable of that feat. In fact, people become dependent on others and increasingly lose touch with their own inherent holiness. People on a spiritual path may say, “I’m still training—I don’t know how to do it.” What I know to be true is that anybody who is still breathing can create holy space. Anybody who says, “I will create a space where the most High that I love is welcome” can create holy space.
I’ve discovered that when you have a space you keep holy, a whole life is born from that place. The experience of heaven grows there, and a life-giving culture presides. We talk about bringing heaven down here; we talk about heaven and earth being one; we talk about heaven being at hand. How is it going to be delivered? Through holy space. When there is a place prepared that nothing will violate, a reality that transcends the experience we have had up to that point can come through. We are the author and the authority in creating this experience. We are the king or the queen of that space; so we have the power to say that nothing will violate this holy space and we will keep it holy so that heaven, magic and wonder can be born.
I’d like to read a poem called “At Least,” by Raymond Carver:
I want to get up early one more morning,
before sunrise. Before the birds, even.
I want to throw cold water on my face
and be at my work table
when the sky lightens and smoke
begins to rise from the chimneys
of the other houses.
I want to see the waves break
on this rocky beach, not just hear them
break as I did all night in my sleep.
I want to see again the ships
that pass through the Strait from every
seafaring country in the world—
old, dirty freighters just barely moving along,
and the swift new cargo vessels
painted every color under the sun
that cut the water as they pass.
I want to keep an eye out for them.
And for the little boat that plies
the water between the ships
and the pilot station near the lighthouse.
I want to see them take a man off the ship
and put another up on board.
I want to spend the day watching this happen
and reach my own conclusions.
I hate to seem greedy—I have so much
to be thankful for already.
But I want to get up early one more morning, at least.
And go to my place with some coffee and wait.
Just wait, to see what’s going to happen.
I want that. It is exciting to be in a holy place waiting to see what’s going to happen, to be conscious of the fact that something’s going to happen because I’m there, in this space, welcoming the invisible, the possible.
We are expectant in holy space because we know something wonderful, something magical comes to our hand when we keep the vessel open for the most High to come in. While we are here on earth we have these incredible capacities of mind and heart and body. They long to serve and they need to be clear and available for what is coming out of the invisible. So often our mind or heart has its own agenda, not trusting that the outworking will be glorious. We can make the choice to fill our capacity with all that we are made to be, so that wonder and magic and creation happen at our hand, not in spite of us.
This is, first of all, an individual choice. Making that personal and individual choice to create holy space opens us to a great gift—the opportunity to find others interested in doing this too, so that the holy space we experience expands. Sacred friendships are based in the agreement to keep holy space and welcome the invisible and visible into that container between us. People come near and they feel it. Things are born in the midst of that holy space because it is kept and the cycles are cared for.
It is powerful when people hold holy space together in physical space. That’s what Sunrise Ranch, where I do this work with others, is about. Any physical place can fulfill that function if the people who are there hold holy space. Into such a space, a person can come and be unfinished in their personal work, as most of us are, and still take full ownership for the parts that are going to be a little messy. We can help each other with that—I will help you with that, and you can help me. We will agree that the space that we’re creating in is kept holy—holy because we own it and we say we will keep it clean and holy. And if something shows up that’s not the best, we own it and say, “Let’s keep going.”
This morning, as I was driving to Sunrise Ranch, they were playing one of Martin Luther King’s speeches on National Public Radio. The last line was “I want to make the invisible visible.” He was talking about a longing and a promise that was fundamental to this country. His passion reminded me of another way of naming this invitation: to create a space where what is coming down from God out of heaven lands in the earth because I am present.
As this happens, heaven becomes a human experience, not just an ethereal one. After all, we did incarnate into these bodies to do something on the earth, not just in the heaven.
When we say we will bring heaven here, it takes a spiritual dynamic that requires surrender to a reality that is higher than what has been the human experience up to that point. That surrender is imperative if we are to create space for heaven to come. We might imagine a perfect state in which we don’t have to be deliberate about it. But there is a well-established habit, a strong morphogenetic field, which has within it a resistance to heaven coming down here. So even though it is as natural as breathing to let it happen, it takes a conscious choice to trump habitual behavior. Poet William Stafford said it this way:
For it is important that awake people be awake,
or a breaking line may discourage them back to sleep;
the signals we give—yes or no, or maybe—
should be clear: the darkness around us is deep.
People sharing this articulation of The Pulse of Spirit are dedicated to letting this happen. So are many others who share this intention around the world. There may be many more who may not even be thinking about it. Is that discouraging? It is a powerful experience to have even three people doing this together. But then four and five…twenty…thirty…
There have been demonstrations occurring around the world by people determined to change the ways of the world—people who have decided to join Occupy Wall Street, or wherever their local financial center happens to be. It is becoming clear to many that the way the world has been run isn’t working, and there is a strong impulse to establish a new paradigm. What is the most powerful factor in creating an impact in our world today? It is the presence of people who share holy space. When there are people who really do that, then there is the foundation of a truly new paradigm, an alternative to the way the world has been operating for millennia. And this new paradigm is not really an alternative at all. It is the way we are designed to function in the first place. We are designed to let heaven come into our earthly experience.
Being in holy space, we invite other people to join us, and extend the invitation by declaring this is how we are going to live our lives together. We are changing the world. We are not going to pretend that it works to violate the Laws of our own being, the way we are made.
In every moment, wait and welcome the possible, allowing magic to be manifest because you are here. Create a space for worship, and use your capacities to perceive what it is that is yours to do next, to bring heaven down here, because holy space is held by you.
October 31st, 2011