The Art and Practice of Creating Sacred Space

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"Build for me a sanctuary and I will dwell among you.
"Exodus 25:8-9 In this one verse from the Old Testament, or Torah, lays an invitation for each of us.
We are asked to create a sanctuary in which to join together with God.
Thus, these 11 words serve as the core of my teaching about creating sacred space.
What follows this verse is a detailed description of how to build the mikdash, or sanctuary, which is also called a mishkan, or tabernacle.
Students of Torah often ask why the instructions for building this structure are so elaborate.
I believe that we are to read into this the need to pay attention to detail.
IN other words, we must be conscious of how we create this sacred space in which God will dwell with us.
If the Divine Presence is actually to live among us when we, too, enter this Divine dwelling place, we might want to be very careful in creating that particular space.
Yet, I don't believe we need to go to such great lengths to create a sanctuary within which we can spend time with God.
If we have the appropriate intention - the desire to invite God into the space we design - and we pay close attention when creating sacred space, we can build a sanctuary without needing wood, stone, gems, or precious metals.
In fact, I believe that it takes little more than our mind to create a sacred space (see meditation).
If we visualize the space we are in as surrounded by a Divine light, and we set aside a time to be in that space, we begin to create a sanctuary.
If we also do a few small things, such as say a prayer, meditate, light a candle, burn incense, or place flowers, holy texts or sacred objects on a table, suddenly we have a sacred space.
We can even build an altar on which to place some of these things.
When we do this, we consciously or unconsciously send an invitation out to the Divine Presence asking to be joined in the mikdash we have created.
We have set aside a sacred time and created a special place for our Divine Guest.
We meet God's invitation with one of our own.
It's easy enough to create a sanctuary in your home.
However, you can do the same at work.
It's possible to make a small altar or to place a candle and a sacred item on your desk.
Or you can say a prayer before you enter the office.
Burn scented oils or play soft music.
Synagogues, churches, prayer circles, and other spaces used for spiritual rituals tend to invoke a spiritual feeling even when no rituals are being performed in them.
They become vortexes of spiritual energy, and it takes little effort to recreate the sense of sanctuary and to invoke the Divine into the space.
When we create sacred space in our homes or in our offices on a continual basis, these also become vortexes of spiritual energy.
Eventually, just entering the space and performing a small act, such as saying a prayer or lighting a candle, draws the Divine into the space with us.
This is the beauty of creating sacred space and using it for spiritual practices or rituals on a regular basis.
The more we create and use the space, the stronger becomes our spiritual experiences in that space.
So, I encourage you to create for yourself - and for God - a sanctuary.
Use it well and allow it to be well used, and each time the response to your Divine invitation will come more quickly.
You will find yourself dwelling with God each time you enter your sacred space.
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