I'm curious, what is sacred to you?
I'm sitting at the foot of the Boudhanath Stupa - one of Nepal's most treasued and religiously significant Buddhist monuments. The omnipotence of the structure is undeniable. Yet it's current role is questionable.
The stupa (mound-like structure, used as a place of meditation) is surrounded by countless shops selling all kinds of typical Nepali souvenirs - pashmina scarves, mini deity statues, and mala necklaces. A mix of modern and traditionally dressed locals make their obligitory lap around the entire stupa, signifying their commitment to their religious practice and way of life.
However, this practice appears far from sacred. Even monks can be seen making their way around while sharing videos on their smartphones!
Although still some (usually older) patrons can be found making their lap in meditation - mala beads in hand, mantras on their tongue, and intention in their mind.
What separates these two practices?
It seems the degree to which one holds this stupa and practice sacred determines their style of practice - and likely the outcome of their meditation experience.
These approaches clearly have their generational gap - with the older, wiser patrons exhibiting a more focused practice. What do they know about living that us younger souls haven't figured out yet?
Simplicity, intentionality, and sacredness(and many more virtues I will eventually figure out).
In the Dalai Lama's book the Art of Happiness, he describes several accounts in which these same virtues are essential to true happiness. Unfortunately, these are common shortcomings in Western culture and younger generations.
Things we used to hold sacred - belief systems, families, our true selves - are losing their importance and place in our fast-paced lives. I know that's not true for all of us; many are seeking enlightenment, connection, and greater consciousness.
In order to increase our happiness, we need to examine how we're holding space for sacredness in our own lives.
Do you have a spiritual practice? Even just a routine you do everyday for peace and relaxation? Finding a daily practice for sacredness will bring more meaning into your daily life, as well a greater happiness.
What do you want to be more sacred in your life? Name it, and make it so! No one can stop you!