There are many beautiful man-made structures around the world. Are these buildings an adequate substitute for the sacredness of nature?
“When one loses the deep intimate relationship with nature, then temples, mosques, and churches become important.” — Jiddu Krishnamurti (1)
Sacred Sites and Sacred Structures
Man makes impressive temples, mosques, churches, and other buildings. They often build these structures at specific geographical locations. Many of the locations are just as important as the structure.
People make pilgrimages to visit these sites. They are often the focal points of their belief systems. Wars and conflicts exist today because of the belief that the location is sacred.
Many people believe the only sacred places on the Earth are those built by the hand of man. Nearly 4 billion people believe that some sites are more sacred than others. They believe this because of religious tradition. They create wars to maintain possession of these sites. That is how important these sites are to some.
In reality, the entire planet is a sacred living entity that provides us with life.
So why do we need these sacred structures and sacred sites? Why do we need a building for a focal point? Many think the preoccupation with religion disconnects us from the sacredness of nature. And so we become disconnected from our nature.
A Substitute for Sacred Spaces
We become blind to the fact that we are part of nature, part of the Earth. Many enlightened spiritual teachers direct us to find our connection with nature. The ancient texts are replete with stories of sages who ventured into the wilderness to meditate. That’s where Jesus and Buddha went to find enlightenment. They did not find it in a building; they found it in nature. All the landscapes of nature are sacred sites.
We always try to hold our preparatory meetings in or near a wilderness park. It makes it easier to connect with the sacredness of ourselves when we are in the sacredness’s presence of nature. Learning many modes of seated and moving meditation is often easier outdoors. It is necessary for forest bathing and tree grounding techniques.
A connection through nature, not man-made structures, makes more sense. Man-made structures are a substitute for sacred spaces of nature. We are part of nature. Thus, we are also a part of its sacredness. When we feel connected with nature, we become grounded and at peace. When we are at peace, we act from our hearts rather than our Ego.
Everyone has sacred spiritual gifts. These gifts sleep within, waiting for us to access and awaken them. Whether these gifts are part of our DNA or spiritual or other states does not matter. When you are awake, you can see all creation is sacred. Some traditions call this Eureka experience Oneness.
The next time you visit a man-made sacred space, ask yourself, what do I feel? Why is this place important to me? Is it a symbol of my religion? Is it a substitute?
There are other ways to connect with our essence. We can reach our inner world’s sacred spaces using several spiritual technologies. These open the sacred structures of the mind.
“Sacred places are made first in the heart. Some monuments and places cry out to our hearts… to recognize their sanctity and holiness. But sacredness does not exist without an observer to bestow reverence. This is why these places cry out. You can feel it…
We can connect to our own divinity through these sacred sites… They reveal the sacredness within our hearts. If only our minds would fathom the holiness of All Creation. We finally see… realize… and believe that we are sacred too. Then these places weep for joy. That is why these places are awe-inspiring…” ― Guru Tua
Spiritual technologies are tools for developing and exploring consciousness. They are processes that can alter, change, or expand our awareness. Some of these methods open doorways to higher states of consciousness.
These processes come from eons of research by cultures around the world. We use the term spiritual exploration to describe these powerful methods.
We select the best of these ancient methods for our blended learning process. These processes are time-tested by generations of use, and they stand up to the rigorous tests of science. Several of these methods produce measurable changes in our physiology. These physiological markers differ from normal waking, sleeping, and dreaming states.
Spiritual exploration is not about faith or belief in a religion. They are processes that anyone can use. All you do is follow a process. We like to think of it just like baking a cake. When you want to bake a delicious cake, you follow a recipe. If you use the right ingredients and follow the directions, you get something delicious. The processes of spiritual exploration are formulas or ingredients for exploring consciousness.
There are many ways to list these methods. We divide these tools into four major categories:
- Analytical Tools
- Awareness Expansion Tools
- Modalities for Healing
The study of spiritual things seems like an odd place to find analytical tools, but these analytical processes are vital to our spiritual quest. Their use enhances our ability to use common sense and logic.
These tools help us think more clearly and make better decisions, which helps us avoid many of our path’s everyday obstacles. This group’s primary tools are Logical Reasoning, Comparative Analysis, and The Enneagram of Personality.
The study of logic is the first tool we use in our group practice, but these methods help anyone seeking the truth. We encourage our participants to create a reminder on their smartphone to review these tools every month. It’s essential to keep them fresh in our minds, and that’s when they become useful in spotting ploys and deception.
We use a set of three related tools. The first tool is Logical reasoning, which summarizes the essential use of logic in language. It shows how people misuse logic to sell us ideas and beliefs. Next is spotting logical fallacies. This module provides practical examples of the most common logical fallacies. The last module, the logical axioms, ties everything together by contrasting how science and mythology differ in their approaches to presenting the truth.
Comparative Analysis is a systematic approach to comparative religious study based on the scientific model. It is a method of comparing ideas and beliefs from different worldviews, and it is another tool we recommend for the new spiritual explorer.
This process introduces the challenge of comparing their beliefs to other worldviews. We incorporate the use of emotional checks with this process to maintain our emotional equilibrium. Keeping your emotional balance helps us think more clearly.
Above all, the use of logical reasoning and comparative analysis will sharpen your ability to discern fact from fiction. So, these aren’t just for research. You’ll find a use for these tools every day. Besides their use in religion, politics, they are also helpful with TV and Radio newscasts.
The Enneagram of Personality
The Enneagram of Personality is a cognitive science tool that helps us understand the mechanisms of Ego, personality, and instinct. The best authors and researchers write in easily understandable language so the layperson can understand it, while it is deep enough for any clinician. It makes the Enneagram a powerful system available to almost everyone.
You will find modern psychology and the Enneagram share many of the same concepts and authors. Borrowing and then building on the work of others is a common practice. For instance, Jungian psychology parallels the structure of the Enneagram. It has nine processes of consciousness.
The core of the Enneagram Personality Profile is a series of questionnaires. If you provide honest answers, you will get an accurate personality profile. The scientific method of testing verifies the accuracy of this tool. The system goes beyond identification into deeper thought processes and beliefs. It integrates spiritual and psychological understanding. It will help you understand the source of your personal power.
When you say spiritual practice, many people think of meditation. Seated and moving forms of meditation are the centerpiece of spiritual exploration. Both seated and moving meditation bring many health and wellness benefits.
Seated meditation is the heart of the spiritual practice for many people. Meditation is an essential tool for exploring consciousness. Seated meditation includes everything from a primary two-step method, Mindfulness Meditation and Japa or Transcendental Meditation (TM). This modality also has advanced practices like the Siddhis of Patanjali.
Moving meditation is an action with a heightened level of awareness. To perform an activity while simultaneously holding a meditative state involves a high level of mind-body coordination and skill. This modality improves mind and body connection. In turn, this has a positive effect on our health and wellness. This progression includes energy collection modalities like Qigong and Tai Chi. It also includes Forest Bathing and grounding techniques, like Tree Grounding and Sun Gazing.
Awareness Expansion Tools
This category has a diverse mix of tools dealing with awareness and perception. This group includes the Shamanic Journey or Guided Meditation, lucid dreaming, third-eye awakening exercises, and techniques to improve memory.
Another essential tool is the spiritual journal or book of shadows; it’s your personal life coach. This modality also includes exercises like automatic writing and exploring memories. You could list these tools among some groups. However, we like to list them separately because of their importance to awareness.
The Shamanic Journey is probably man’s first technology for exploring consciousness. This traditional method is at the core of many indigenous cultures, and it serves as evidence of the historical importance of the inner quest.
There are many variations on this theme, but essentially the same formula. Rhythm is a key element that regulates heart rate and breathing. Then the mind projects an inner world providing the lucid journey.
A Shaman is a person who guides people through this journey in the spirit world. However, you can take this inward journey by yourself. This tool for changing awareness uses a range of seated and moving forms.
The Shamanic Journey has been renamed or rebranded in Western cultures. They do this to make it more marketable. You will see it marketed as “guided meditation” or “creative visualization.”
Modalities for Healing
The last group is healing practices. This group includes a diverse set of tools such as Pe Jet, which comes from Indonesia, and Reiki and Shiatsu come from Japan. We teach Vedic medicine, along with other traditional healing forms. Self-care is a vital part of this group. Because to help others, we must be in optimal health. Our overall health and wellness affect every aspect of life.
Using any healing method is a natural outlet for our positive energy. Many people come to the healing arts as a secondary interest. They find it an enjoyable way of giving back and helping others.
Ask yourself, what are my sacred spaces? Do I find a connection in nature? Do I feel the need to be in or near these sacred sites? Perhaps now is the time to investigate and see if the substitute for sacredness is holding you back?
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(1) Jiddu Krishnamurti, Wikipedia
(2) Joseph Campbell & Joseph Campbell’s book The Hero’s Journey, Wikipedia