Monday, May 13, 2013

What's Sacred?

What is sacred? Love? Friendship? Honor? Truth? Honesty? Freedom? Justice? Nature? Life itself?

Is there some magical quality or dimension of soul and spirit that conveys the powers inherent to the distinction of sanctity? Where does the sacred begin? Where does it live? Do we hold the sacred in our hearts, in our minds? Is it in the air we breathe? Can we drink the sacred? Eat it? Grow it? Is the sacred invited in or does it penetrate throughout our being as we live regardless of what we do or think or say?

Can our actions translate and transform into having sacred properties? Can we work, and sing and dance and farm in sacred ways? Do our spiritual intentions count, or are we simply indulging ourselves by choosing to believe we have the ability to imbue our lives with sacred qualities?

Does personal sacrifice for the greater good demonstrate a sacred individual character? Do groups of people singing their hearts to the sky create a sacred atmosphere that carries beyond the sound and lasts beyond the moment? Can we grow the sacred in ourselves and in others by how we move through life? 

Can the sacred be planted with a seed? Watered, nourished, cared for, loved? Can food be sanctified through conscious intention? Through "Thanksgiving?" 

What exactly is the meaning of the word sacred? Connected with God (or the gods) or dedicated to a religious purpose, and so deserving veneration? Is a religious path somehow more potently sacred than individual secular spirituality or atheism?

Does writing of the sacred require embodying the vernacular and laws and doctrines dictated by traditions of religion? Is ritual necessary? Or do actions speak louder than dogma? 

By what measure is the sacred estimated? Does playing beautiful music to the spheres convey respect and reverence more than the heartfelt expressions of a novice or the pure and joyful noises produced by a child? Does being imprisoned for sincere beliefs demonstrate a deeper level of commitment to the sacred? 

What is sacrosanct to mankind in the 21st Century? Does altruism count for anything? Or is it just bad business in a world that grows more vicious, less idealistic under the hand of ruthless, competitive industry?

Is there an opposite of sacred? Is war sacred? Has the meaning of the word been corrupted by self-interest and avarice? Is our society content to trade the sacred for monetary gain, momentary pleasure, physical comfort or illusions of security?

Can it be that we are lost in desperation and fear to the point that there is no room for the sacred? If so, then how can the sacred be recovered? How can the influence of sacred be reincorporated into the evolution of our species? Where do we begin? 

Is there a functional justification for including the sacred in our social evolution? In our government? Is "freedom of religion" sacred, or merely a necessary component of peaceful coexistence? 

Is there accountability for the lack of sacred integration in governance? Is there an implied moral imperative that embodies the deeds and misdeeds of people entrusted with the health and welfare of the people? Of the country? Of the planet?

Does the act of seeking sacred meaning convey sacredness? Do we define the sacred for ourselves or is it a consensus manifestation determined by the common, conscious agreement? 

When the sacred is disrespected, are there consequences? If so, are they inevitable and immediate; or does it require active institutional involvement, public supervision to have an effect?

Can we actually feel the sacred in our lives? Can we observe the sacred in another's life? If my dear friend is having the sacred dimensions of his life wronged by being imprisoned without trial, without bail, and denied visitors because of his historically substantiated knowledge and scholarship; that has infused him with sincere beliefs and selfless dedication to what sees as sacred in his life, does that impact the sacred integrity of my life? Are my freedoms eroded by his loss of liberty? 

Are the immeasurable sacrifices made for freedom by those who have come before us being denigrated by his unjust imprisonment? Are we accountable for the death of Liberty if we do less than everything we can to help him? 

Is there such a thing as a sacred obligation? To the Earth? To universal ideal of freedom? To our country? To our family & friends? To our pets, and to the other innocent creatures with whom we share this planet?

What about the Natural Order itself? Are the systems that have thus far allowed for humankind's sustainable existence, and are determining the quality of life for future generations to follow, a sacred trust? Have we betrayed that trust? Is our legacy corroded through denial, inattention, greed and self-interest?

I do not pretend to know any of the answers to any of the questions. I seek to understand why, in a world so ripe with potential; with so much beauty and goodness in the people I have known, and many whom I have read of, humankind seems to be headed for a gruesome extinction that many refuse to acknowledge.

I trust that simple reflection on where we are in the trajectory we're co-creating, will serve to preclude what now seems sadly inevitable. Is our species adaptable enough to make a conscious shift to a "Gaiatherapeutic," earth-healing presence; rather than continuing to race toward an unthinkable future? 

I wonder.