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What are the Divine, Spirit, Soul, & the Sacred? – Part 3: the Sacred

This is Part 3 of 3! Click here for Part 1 and here for Part 2!

sunrise view of Joshua trees - Mojave National Park Desert, California

THE SACRED

Spirit – the universal Divine – and individual Souls – the particular Divine – are present not just in people, but in all beings, places, objects, and relationships. Still, it can be useful, even if not entirely correct, to distinguish a bit, between how people relate to Spirit and how everything else does, between the Souls of people and the Souls of everything else.

concrete cube in the middle of forest - Magnuson Park, Seattle, Washington

After all, we humans seem to be the only inhabitants in this universe that can decide not to act in alignment with our Souls and Spirit’s power, love, and consciousness. Too often we neglect or actively harm other beings, places, objects, and relationships. Rather than interact with our world as if we were surrounded with holiness, we usually transact with it as though it were somehow non-holy, merely neutral. We turn away from others' suffering. We cause unnecessary pollution in our urban and wild environments. We fill our lives with noise and artificiality, rather than seeking the wonders that await us beyond our comfort-zones. These are some reasons why I find it’s helpful to refer to the Spirit-connections and Souls of “everything else” as the Sacred, as a way of highlighting the Divinity we commonly overlook.


A question naturally arises here: if truly everything is Sacred, is everything equally Sacred? Thus actually making everything rather neutral after all? Wouldn’t pollution, noise, artificiality, etc. be merely different but equivalent kinds of holiness? Wouldn’t neglect, harm, and transacting be as valid as any other actions? Well, no – just like a person can be either more or less identified with their Soul or ego, indeed, things can be either more or less Sacred. (Though not people – we are all equally Sacred.)


Here another question arises: what authority do I have to say what the hierarchy of Sacredness is? No more than any other individual, so the best I could do, theoretically, would be to systematically weigh the precepts of various religious and secular moral philosophies, both enduring and recent… but that would be outside the scope of this blog post. The next best I can do is offer what my instincts tell me – and what seems to be common theme of most philosophies and most people’s values – while also acknowledging that there are countless nuances here.

waterfall rushing amidst mossy rocks - Marymere Falls, Olympic Peninsula

Most of us could probably agree that life – broadly defined – is overridingly Sacred. For instance, natural, living things are more Sacred than other things. Beauty, variation, creativity, passion, freedom, and love are more Sacred than bland, stultifying uniformity. Things that give life – like food – are more Sacred than things that take it away – like weapons.


I’m sure you could imagine many more statements arising from this life-affirmation axiom, add other axioms alongside it, or start from a different one altogether. The point here is identifying, attuning to, and maximizing what you find most Sacred in your and others’ lives, and minimizing what you find least Sacred. This, like the relinquishing of ego and nurturing of Soul addressed in Part 2, is an essential task of spirituality. Exploring the Sacred is obviously also a big part of what I and other spiritual guides work on with people.


Over the years I’ve identified at least 8 everyday settings in which almost everyone is already attuning to the Sacred, as well as Soul and Spirit, and may want more support. I often find clients want to focus on these topics in our sessions together, as a way of bringing interaction with Spirit, Soul, and the Sacred from the conceptual down to the concrete:

  • Nature: our magnificent, shared spiritual home (urban or wild)

  • Ritual: spiritually-enriching practices (like contemplation) and ceremonies (like marking a life transition)

  • Story: our own stories and any others we find meaningful

  • Relationships: where we meet the Divine face-to-face

  • Grief: the gateway to our own deepest depths and wisdom

  • Calling/Vocation: our gifts, our work for a better world

  • Creativity: the art of letting Divine inspiration flow through us

  • Mystery: the edge of our consciousness (like dreams, imagination, and archetypes)

As a next step, you might start learning more about these topics, starting with Simple Settings for Spiritual Growth - Part 1: Nature & Ritual!


Or you might be asking: how do I find more structure – clarity, consistency, and community – in my spiritual process? Check out Simple Structure for your Spirituality– Part 1: Exercises for Finding Clarity for ideas on this!


Along the way, I offer you some reflection questions:

  • How have you seen Sacredness in all beings, places, objects, and relationships?

  • How have you been interacting rather than transacting with the world?

  • How have you been attuning to and maximizing what you find most Sacred?

  • How have you been moving your spirituality from the conceptual down to the concrete?

  • How would you like to?


Image credits: #1 - Taylor Whitfield

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