Good morning. Welcome to those here in the Dome and those online. This morning a few of us will be sharing themes from this week’s Pulse of Spirit, entitled “Walking Between Worlds,” by David Karchere. Many of you know that David is leading a “Discovering the Magic of King Arthur” tour in the south of England. There are a group of sixteen with him, and they have been visiting a number of sacred sites, including Glastonbury, Cadbury Castle, Tintagel, and Stonehenge. In the Pulse of Spirit, David invites us to explore the inner dimension, or inner landscape, of the sacred as we know it and as it comes through us.
I would like to share a portion of the Pulse of Spirit, where David is speaking about the four elements of the sacred, and something of the areas and sacred sites they are visiting.
Our journey has led me to consider the significance of sacred sites—places that evoke the deepest human experiences…. What are the elements that lead to a deep human experience of the sacred in a certain place? Here are four elements that often contribute to the experience:
Physical presence. The Glastonbury Tor is a large, steep hill that rises out of the Somerset Levels…. The Tor is a remarkable feature in the landscape, visible from miles away. It is a beautiful site but, more than that, it has an energetic presence that can easily be felt….
A humanly created physical structure built with a specific intention…. Stonehenge arises out of the Salisbury Plain like nothing else around it. Ancient pilgrims from as far away as Central Europe came to find healing from the giant stones and a sense of orientation in the solar cycle as the structure marked the coming of the winter solstice.
A story…. Often the story surrounding a sacred site is a story of origin, such as the story of the origin of Camelot or the conception of King Arthur at Tintagel.
Ritual. People come to Glastonbury to climb the Tor. Sometimes it is a spiral climb, but most often it is a more direct climb to St. Michael’s Chapel at the top. For some it is a walk up a hill like any other. For others the climb is a ritual and a meditation—an opportunity to enter the magic of the place.
I encourage you to use these four elements of sacred sites to enter the inner sacred landscape more deeply.
When we shared this piece during our service preparation, what struck me was that magical dimension of the sacred that we might say is like entering into grace. There is a certain beauty, there is a pattern of truth and accuracy, and there is grace. There was the awareness in me that each of us individually is a sacred site when we are allowing the sacred to come through us. And that is the same opportunity for each of us, regardless of our age, our education or training, our position, our role. We all have the ability to bring the sacred into our day-to-day living.
I find the key to that is the heart. When my heart is open to the sacred, it comes through. And that doesn’t mean that we can’t have fun or that we can’t be ourselves or can’t have a sense of humor. I believe that the sacred is present in every aspect of our humanity. The sacred is not separate from who we are. The sacred is always present, always accessible. We always have the opportunity to bring it, even in a small way, through how we are with one another; how we are in relationships, those we live with, those we work with; how we are in nature, how we open to the beauty of this living Earth; music, the arts. The sacred is at our fingertips. It is always available.
And with David’s invitation to explore the inner landscape, there is an opportunity to be still, to breathe, to ground, to relax into that experience, as we did listening to that beautiful music earlier, and to feel a certain sense of flow that is always present when we are present with the sacred. I loved what David had to say about physical presence and a structure that has purpose, because again, my experience is that this is how we are built. This is what we are created to be: a beautiful presence, sacred presence, with meaning and purpose flowing through us. With the sacred, there is an aspect of loving goodness. We had someone here recently who performed in the Dome and spoke of loving goodness. I thought that was so beautiful and so immediate. Again, always present, always accessible to us.
Often, if we are blocking the sacred it is because we do not feel worthy or we do not have enough experience of it for it to be real to us. I find that holding the intention and placing my attention on the sacred, on grace, on beauty, love and truth, brings more of that. And something I have found in my life is that even if I did not feel it at a particular moment, I could still hold the intention to feel it—almost like imagining or remembering times when I have felt it. The sacred can begin to flow through us at any time—through our words, how we are with one another, the things we say to one another, and how we honor each other as sacred beings.