Where are the thin places? What are the sacred spaces?

We talked last night at our myc | yoga spiritual integration class about the Sacred spaces in our lives.

Such a rich conversation… we all have stories about this. We all love to go back to these places… reflecting on why they mean so much to us. We have such a strong desire to recognize in the places we go how the spiritual and physical worlds are close.

Mahatma Gandhi in his Spiritual Message to the World in 1931, speaks of this.

“There is an indefinable, mysterious power that pervades everything.  I feel it, though I do not see it.  It is this unseen power that makes itself felt and yet defies all proof, because it is so unlike all that I perceive through my senses.  It transcends the senses”

Truth abides in thin places; naked, raw, hard to face truth.  Yet the comfort, safety and strength to face that truth also abides there.  Thin places captivate our imagination, yet diminish our existence.  We become very small, yet we gain connection and become part of something larger than we can perceive.   The human spirit is awakened and will grow if the body and mind allow it.  Simply put, a thin place is a place where one feels that mysterious power Ghandi refers to.  Ghandi believed (and stated later in the same speech), that the mysterious power was God.

Thin Places are ports in the storm of life, where the pilgrims can move closer to the God they seek,  where one leaves that which is familiar and journeys into the Divine Presence.  They are stopping places where men and women are given pause to wonder about what lies beyond the mundane rituals, the grief, trials and boredom of our day-to-day life.  They probe to the core of the human heart and open the pathway that leads to satisfying the familiar hungers and yearnings common to all people on earth, the hunger to be connected, to be a part of something greater, to be loved, to find peace.

Read the rest of this amazing article on sacred spaces and thin places HERE.

We spent a lot of time focusing on the energy of the places… those who have come before us and experienced the place before. What is it about those who have been there? Do they leave something for us? I remember an old cottonwood tree at my old college, Bethel University in St Paul, that was about 12 feet across. It was massive… struck by lightning a number of times, blasted by wind… a home for birds, squirrels and who knows what else. I would walk by it, imagining all that it had seen… the breakups, the proposals, the rule-breaking, the make-outs, the profound spiritual experiences (some of which I myself had experienced there). It had been there before the school and before the people. I would put my hand on its trunk, feeling that connection with the hundreds of years. Not something they taught me in those Baptist Christian classes.

What are your sacred places? What makes them so special?

By the way, we’d love to have you join us at the classes. Tuesday nights at 7:00 (myc | yoga)

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Frantic… for what?

It’s so easy to be frantic these days. We get caught up with where the money is going to come from, which latest business has gone under, or how many “For Sale,””For Lease,” and “For Rent” signs we see everywhere. And if there is no worry, we still so often frantically work, frantically play, frantically plan (worry?) for what might possibly happen in the future, or frantically dwell on what happened in the past. Who am I kidding… this is not just about these days. It’s the state of humanity, not just now, but so many of those before us and so many of those after us.

I’m also writing to myself.

The craziness, the busyness, the non-stop noise… if we’re not exposing ourselves to it on the outside, it’s probably going on in the inside. Usually for me, the extent of my stillness is watching a movie, listening to some music, eating, making coffee, and jumping up to run to my computer any time I get an email or a Twitter update. I’m distracted and frankly kidding myself if I think that this is stillness. Frantic. My sweetheart said I have “monkey mind.” Thanks, love.

It’s true, though. I’ve really forgotten how to be still. And our culture perpetuates it. There are always newer and better ways to keep us connected and efficient, each of them adding to the franticness, busyness, and craziness of our lives. We are connected (hooked…) with our phones, our IPODs, our computers, and our cars. Never getting the chance to listen to the one thing that we should probably tune in to… our selves.

Yes, we are more in the information loop. Yes, we know what is going on with all of our friends at any time of day. Yes, we are able to get whatever song, video, clip, photo, update, statistic, opinion, or gossip as soon as we possibly can.

But, what about the person right in front of you… sitting at the table at the coffee shop or even in your home? What about the people who care about you and want to hear what’s going on in your heart… not the latest screen app that you have discovered to streamline your 10 different social networking devices? Can you see them? Can you hear them? Do you know what your heart or your spirit is telling you right now?

Slow down, Nate, slow down. Turn it off, turn it down, put it away, get away… listen… to yourself. Get quiet. Disconnect for a while (no… NO… not disconnect!). Yes, disconnect. Because the world needs your presence. The world needs your stillness. The world needs your sincerity and your clarity. They need your compassion and your understanding. And they will never get it when you are as frantic as they are.