Yesterday I went to a party. As I toured the happy couples new home, I saw all the “spiritual but not religious” swag. It was everywhere, in rooms with candles lit, flowers, and nuanced vignettes. There was a meditation room with more books about Zen and yoga, beautiful art, reclaimed wood, and mini altars set up throughout the house, each with jeweled malas, iconography, and incense. It was panoply of prayer, but no piety, and sadly no personalization.
Encountering sacred space takes my breath away, even when spiritual or religious dogma is in conflict with my own. I walk an incarnate path, but walking up to an altar that has no energy is creepy; its actually not an altar it's a display.
When I finally cornered the hostess, I understood why. We only had met once before, it was clear Zen was still a brand to her and not her practice. I didn’t need to corner her actually. I knew when I crossed the threshold that she was spiritually lost and like many in her desperation to find divinity had bought all the swag hoping to fill the void. Kuan Yin was pretty to her, so she bought the statue. She has yet to feel Kuan Yin the Bodhisattva of Compassion in her life. But she will, Kuan Yin and I chatted plenty while I was there.
Many of, if not all, are like this woman. Zen reminds us that as we let go of the things we are attached to, and are simply left with ourselves, and the unexplainable truth, we have enlightenment. We don’t need the statue, the mala, the comfort or the discomfort we simply have the breath in this moment. As I listened to this woman, I thought to myself when was the last time she breathed in peace and exhaled love? When was the last time she took a deep cleansing breath, and felt her divine self?
Then it occurred to me that she probably doesn’t know what her divine self feels like. Most people probably have no idea what divinity feels like.
Divinity can come in many forms and presents itself in a variety of ways. For me it is as God Herself. However divinity cannot be bought. Sure, plenty of the things can help you access divinity, from icons to malas; incense to crystals but the ascension to divinity lies within each of us if only we choose to make the time for it.
That time can be as simple as starting with the breath, as we actively make the choice to breathe and feel out sacred self.
Many wisdom traditions speak to breath and the alignment of mind, body and soul; the interconnected and interdependent web of existence. I struggle with my practice of daily commitment to making time. This morning I am ever present of Thorn Coyle, and our shared teachings from Feri. In her book Evolutionary Witchcraft, she writes, “Feri Tradition honors the Star Goddess first, before any of the Elements of life, Guardians or other Deities are called into the sacred sphere. She is acknowledged, not called, for She is always with us, and we open all Feri workings with this prayer: “Holy Mother, in Whom we live, move and have our being, from You all things emerge and unto You all things return.” She continues to teach Invocation to the Divine Within from her book on her site.
This invocation, the aligning of the Triple Souls is the bedrock and return to center of my practice and my worship. Worship is a verb. It brings me back to the breath in a way that is holy for my practice. It requires nothing more than my present and authentic self. Here is where I return. Like the hostess I met, in the past I too have been caught in the web of my own inextricable need to try and buy divinity. Hungry for sacredness, trying to escape, and wanting peace. I too have filled a void with “stuff” that looked holy. When in actuality that which made me whole has been, from the beginning, Holy Mother and the breath that sustained life.
Today, as the Full Moon of last night wanes into New, I recommit myself to daily practice of breath work. Of actively inviting divinity in, and not trying to buy Her. She is not for sale. I challenge those whom are filling the void with money to use that money outwardly. God Herself continues to push and challenge us to show compassion. I endeavor you to donate in Her honor if you are able to Love in Action Oklahoma Tornado Relief.