Saturday, July 16, 2011
In the presence of the sacred
Living the sacred life is part of my practice, but one can't call it an "animist" practice per se. In many traditions, humans have tried to live as consciously and in as sacred a manner as they could. Judaism has a particularly rich tradition of living in sacred space and time. All day long, a practicing Jew is praising his or her God, speaking words and taking actions that bring him or her back again and again to a reality which is filled with the intention and presence of the Creator. Jews praise their God when they rise up and when they lie down. They write sacred words on the doorposts of their homes, and bind sacred words to their foreheads when they pray. They wear a special hat and fringes, and give thanks when they eat, drink, see a rainbow, wash their hands, and move their bowels, to name just a few of the everyday activities that are made special through this conscious awareness of the divine.
I came out of this tradition, and I am also always praising my gods. I give thanks all day long, not just to the greater-than-human beings, but to all the beings that help and nurture me through the day.
I think this is what Jesus meant when he said that we should pray without ceasing. My practices, which include radical love, making art, appreciating beauty, consciousness of the sacred, and so on, permeate my day. There is no time in which I am not engaged in my practice, so as I write about particular practices—which may be related to animism or polytheism or simply being human in the body on the earth—my reader should be aware that they are not something I do in a formal, ritualized way, at least, not most of the time. Most of the time, my religious practice is fully integrated into my everyday life, so I am always engaged in the sacred reality.