In ancient times and in indigenous cultures it was and is common place to create sacred space. It is not only meant for special ceremonies, but a tool and spiritual practice to be utilized in everyday life. By creating sacred space in our daily lives, we are able to get in touch with that deeper sense of connection and happiness that we all long for.
In the Buddhist tradition I have studied in, we are taught the importance of having a clean meditation space with a proper altar and offerings set up. But I know all too well for myself, and have witnessed many others feel the weight of creating such a space that would be appropriate or that we feel would be good enough to start our daily practice in. We somehow allow this to hold us back from actually starting our practice. We get caught up in the details of what it looks like and might feel like it has to be so elaborate, that we decide we can’t actually start meditating or create our daily rituals “for real” until we have completed this. Instead of looking at it like a wonderful practice, we are viewing it as an arduous task. If we can give ourselves the gift a new perspective and use the practice of creating sacred space to also soothe and settle our mind, then this becomes a big part of our meditation and we in fact end up clearing our hearts in the process.
The most important piece is our intention.
What is it that we would like to manifest and call forth? What does our heart long for, or what is something that we would like more clarity and insights on? Allow receiving the answers to your prayers to guide you in setting this very special intention. When we start to make preparations and ready our room for our daily practice, we can keep these wishes in mind and allow them to guide us. We can think something along the lines of, “I am clearing and creating this sacred space, making offerings and prayers, and setting intentions in order to gain more wisdom on such and such and such.”
Getting the hang of feeling the energy in a room only takes practice, and we’re all likely doing it to some extent already. Take some time to walk slowly around your space. Holding our hand or hands out as we walk mindfully, we can make note of any changes in the air pressure or temperature in the room. After taking some time to assess the space, we can start to play.
Below are some ideas of how to incorporate the six senses when creating your sacred space.
Once we have our intention, we can use our intuition (6th sense) to guide us inward. What would this space really love? We can also ask questions of our Divine Posse that go by many different names. If there is an area where we are feeling stuck and our intention is to gain clarity and receive guidance, ask the divine to send you some answers. The answers may come through a conversation with a friend, a sign you see while walking about, a repetitive thought or song on the radio timed perfectly right. However they come, trust the answers you receive.
Would our space like some objects we hold dear placed in a special area of the room, making an altar of sorts? In this way we can engage our visual senses in addition to creating an energetic anchor. Maybe we have an altar already, and feel called to refresh it, removing all the objects, dusting them each off and deciding which ones want to go back, or perhaps there is something else that would like to be included. Sacred objects can range from items such as statues, crystals, flowers, incense, water bowls, a special text we have the wish to take to heart, candles or even pictures of our ancestors. Use your imagination and continue to engage your intuition on what feels right.
We can engage our sense of taste by making food offerings. Often we will find rice, corn meal, tobacco, chocolate or other delicious offerings on an altar. If there is a food we feel particularly attached to we can make it an offering, asking the divine to help us dissolve this attachment.
Sound can be so soothing and healing. I love to clear my space with sound before sitting down to do my daily rituals. Singing bowls and bells are really nice for breaking up stagnant energy. For denser energy, a heavier singing bowl, rattle or drum might be called for. Start at the doorway of your space. Take a moment to connect with your sound maker of choice. If I am using a bell, I like to ring it, imagine the sound coming into my heart center and then wave my hand outward from my heart, spreading the love and sound as I move in a clockwise motion around the room continuing to ring the bell as I am guided. We can also introduce sound into the room with our voice. Songs and mantras that we love and connect with make really nice offerings as we move through our space, as well as during our sitting practice if that’s something we feel called to. Of course we can also sing prayers to call on the divine and invite in blessings too.
Incense, candles, and essential oils are really nice for clearing the energy in a room or as offerings on our altar. We can also engage our sense of smell by using sage, a smudge stick with our own blend of herbs or palo santo wood to clear the room. It is sometimes nice to clear the room with scent after we have cleared with sound or vice versa. Using the same principals, we can start at the entrance of the room, connecting with the spirit of the plant or herb we are using to clear, and disperse the smell through the room as we travel in a clockwise circle, making our way back to the doorway. I love to use a special feather to help disperse the smell. Once at the door, we may feel called to move the scent in the motion of an infinity sign to seal in the clearing. We can also use our sound and scent makers to clear ourselves, waving it up one side of the body and down the other.
To engage our sense of touch we may decide to wear special clothing made of soft textures or colors, or a special cloth on our altar. Maybe we feel guided to hold a special mala, object or crystal while we do our sitting practice. Holding our hands in different mudras are another way to engage our sense of touch and connect with our intention as well as dispel and clear energy.
The more we practice creating sacred space, the more we will be able to balance it when things start to feel off. It’s important to also note that we can create sacred space just about anywhere. For example, I have a small space at my desk where I work, and some various special spots sprinkled throughout our home. There are no limits.