Where Do the Self and the Sacred Meet?

I am fascinated by the thin space where my separate self meets the Sacred. I need the Sacred to do my work in the world, and the Sacred needs me to do its work in the world. We are the universal and the individual, acting in concert.

What is the Sacred? 

It’s hard to define with words, but let’s call it the field of Loving Awareness in which we reside. It is here now, always available, radiating its presence. It is witness to all the events we experience in life, the tragic, joyful and mundane.  

It is present in our suffering:  it comforts dying soldiers everywhere (Ukrainian and Russian, Allied and Axis, Confederate and Union); it inhabits cancer wards and nursing homes, hospice rooms and homeless shelters; it is present when our hearts are breaking and our souls are grieving; when we feel abandoned, lost or betrayed.

This Living Presence is also witness to our joys:  in the smiles of children; in the eyes of bride and groom on their wedding day; in families gathered at confirmations, quinceañeras and bar mitzvahs; in ordinations, initiations and vision quests; it is present when our hearts are full and our souls are brimming.

And it is with us in the mundane tasks of driving to work, shopping for groceries, walking the dog or sipping our morning coffee.

From the miracle of birth to the mystery of death, in the warmth of breathing from first to last, the Presence of Being is here.

What is the self? 

It is just this I. This me. This sliver of humanity that seems so small in the traffic of the world. But it is a sliver that is lavishly unique, an amalgam of gifts, experience and potential that will never be replicated. Like shards of a diamond, we are each an individual lens of consciousness split from the field of Loving Awareness that brings its own unique perspective to life.

As conscious beings in a world of suffering and joy, we too are witness to the sweep of human experience. Woundings and healings; atrocity and generosity; indifference and devotion; we are present for the whole amazing kaleidoscope.

And we have the power to choose how we participate. We are the agents of action that further the aims of Loving Awareness. If we don’t act, we do the cosmos a disservice.

Where do the self and Sacred meet? 

In the placing of attention.

I can bring the whole of the Sacred alive by the simple choice of how I attend to whatever is before me. In that moment when I let the filters drop and fall in to present awareness, I meet the Soul of the World with my own soul, mirroring its awareness by sharing mine, merging my love with the ocean of Divine Love.

Whether in my daily life and the people I encounter or contemplating the events of the world, each time I consciously place my attention on something, I open another channel for awareness and love. My naked attention, witnessing the scene without pushing away in revulsion or clinging close for fear of losing, exercises my power of choice to open to presence. Each simple act of paying attention creates another small capillary from the Heart of the Divine, opens rivulets that have been waiting to stream from the Ocean of God into the world of human form.

Each time I return to awareness, my choice has an effect. I presence a different consciousness in myself and in the ecosystem around me. It doesn’t matter if it is once an hour or once a month. Each choice is small, like a drop in the ocean, but the ocean is made of drops. And the more I do it, the better I get at it. 

Photo by Clint McKoy on Unsplash

9 Replies to “Where Do the Self and the Sacred Meet?”

  1. Beautiful Steve. Thank you for this wonderful post.

    In my teaching and treatment, I discuss the practice of appreciation, with the mantra, “this is sacred.”

  2. Oh my. Steve. This is rich. This is soothing. This is as comforting as it is uncomfortable. This is as deep as it is shallow. This is received, with deep gratitude.

    You, the Writer – a sliver of unique humanness – showing up for us as a conduit for Loving Awareness and awakening ‘in the moment’.

    Steve Sphar, in universal concert with Mark Nepo, Simon Sinek, Elizabeth Gilbert….because ‘if we don’t (act), we do the cosmos a disserve…’.

  3. I love this post. You have an amazing ability to make the complex understandable. One of the best descriptions I have read on the Sacred and the Self. Thank you.

  4. You are sincerely welcome Geraldine. I try to live up to these aspirations daily. Mostly I forget, so I write these posts to help me remember. I am glad they are helpful to others.

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