Friday, March 11, 2011
Copyright Lance Kinseth. Tranquil Way/Jakushitsu, 24”x24, acrylic, 2007
IN THE ALCHEMIST, Paulo Coelho has written beautifully, “When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better, too.” However, if we strive to become “special,” everything around us may be diminished and distanced from us.
“Sacred” space tends to be associated with “special” space. But the more special space becomes, the more we are distanced from it, and unable to see spirit and sacredness in the everyday. There is not really anything around us that is not either miraculous or magical.
Every space is an “energy vortex” of sorts, deep in the abyss of the universe. Restricting sacred space to limited special places reflects our limits—our sense of not understanding the depth of where we are at any moment as well as our inseparability from the ongoing creative process of the universe.
Coming into restorative practice, we cross over a threshold, going from everyday routine to a place of stillness. When ever space is viewed as sacred space, creating a sacred space references optimizing our sense of sacredness that is inherent rather than creating a special place. After “crossing over a threshold,” small rituals that affect sensory awareness enhance the opening of our awareness of inherent sacredness. This may be a gesture of gratitude-silently saying gratitude and/or offering a small bow, the use of sound and/or fragrance, or creating a different quality of light from the everyday experience, such as very soft light and/or candles. This is not unlike an artist preparing a canvas or a musician preparing an instrument.
Such a process can transform the words and actions that follow. The words that follow can be anticipated to be different, perhaps more heart-felt as well as giving consideration to a larger frame of reference than oneself. In the experience of healing, this can alter the questions a person may bring from self-centered interests to a larger question or answer.
Characteristics that can optimize the experience of the inherent healing and sacredness of Restorative-Yin practice space:
· Open comfortable postures;
· Intentional relaxation: stilling the body/ slowing breath and/or following breath, a conscious return to silence;
· Attention to sensory elements that alter routine sensory experiences: soft light, sound [music, natural sounds, softer voice tone, eloquence of language], fragrance;
· Develop an attitude expressed by this space or “container”: trust, calmness, deep comfort, expansiveness/connection; and
· Overall, establish a sensory ritual for transforming from the profane to the sacred: i.e., removing shoes, a quiet gathering needed materials for a practice session, a softer lighting and/or candles, swaddling or wrapping oneself in a blanket to reduce sensory stimuli, incense as fragrance or flowers, a particular sound, a particular built or natural environment, a particular matt arrangement, etc.
Many of these qualities are inherent in Restorative-Yin Yoga, and can be brought to more intentional awareness as a crucial element of the practice.