Friday, September 14, 2012

What is sacred to you?

Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche defined sacred space as "a space that is recognized with heart and mind, that radiates a particular atmosphere you cannot help but feel."

I bet most of us have those places. And for many of us, it's not here. This is ordinary, workaday, clean-the-house, share-with-too-many-strangers space. It's dirty, it's crowded, it smells bad. Sacred space -- that's at the beach or the mountains, maybe in that place we haven't been to but long to go to. Nepal. Tibet. Iceland. Costa Rica.

But Trungpa Rinpoche, who had a strong feeling for the word "sacred," maintained that ordinary spaces can be sacred too. Your tiny apartment, your kitchen, your bedroom can be sacred.

"If you regard space as sacred, if you care for it with your heart and mind, then it will be a palace," he writes in "Shambhala: Sacred Path of the Warrior.

In that way, you can live like a king in a tiny studio apartment.

The Asian-American Arts Alliance is holding a 12-day, 25-event arts festival called the Locating the Sacred Festival. It began this week and continues until Sept. 23 in New York City. It offers a bounty of opportunities to contemplate your relationship with the sacred.

You can nominate your sacred places in the five boroughs to appear on an interactive map. (left)Check it out at Those dots all represent places or urban sacredness, and the map offers more details about each one.

On Saturday, Sept. 15, I'm helping another IDPeep, Maho Kawachi,and I will lead meditation at an art gallery in Brooklyn. It's part of an exhibit called "Interpreting Rituals: The Butterfly Effect." I'm excited by the chance to meditate with art around me. Art is one of the things that connects me to my mind and heart.

If you read this early enough you can join us. You can check out other festival event offerings on the calendar, the map or by searching by category.

But if you're not in New York, you're not separate from the sacred. To connect with the sacred, your mind and your heart have to be open. And if you are able to do that, then every space -- and every being in it -- is sacred.

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