In these early days of December in the United States, we are well placed in the middle of sacred seasons. We have just finished a national holiday of gratitude. We are now in or are soon approaching declared sacred days of Advent (November 29-December 20) Hanukkah (December 6-14), Winter Solstice (December 22), Mawlid Un Nabi–the birthday of Mohammmed (December 23), and Christmas–the birthday of Jesus (December 25). These are externally driven examples of time being declared sacred. And to some degree, depending on our traditions, we propel ourselves into a time that we co-declare as sacred. We do the work, participate in the motions that must be moved, make the food, light the candles, sing the songs, gather in the communities, and there are moments within that declared time that can, may and do feel sacred to us.
There are also many moments in these externally declared times that feel anything but sacred. They may feel forced, faked, foolish and fraudulent. We may find that just as we are entering into the event which is supposed to be the most sacred, our family is angry, our bodies are broken and our world seems not to notice at all that something sacred is going on here. We live, in these declared sacred times, a holy or unholy paradox. What we do with that is really a sign of our own spiritual practice.
There may be another approach to sacred time. There is no external declaration, so you will never find this kind of sacred time on any calendar. This sacred moment defies all plans, and will participate in no agenda. It comes instantly. It arrives right now. It is held only by our attention to this moment. This sacred time is completely internal even though it may look out, reach out, call out and touch all that is around it. This kind of sacred time always exists, but remains hidden until we choose to be here, now. When we let go of worry and fear (clinging to the future), and when we let go of anger and shame (clinging to the past) we are left with just right now–the only time we ever really have except that we distract ourselves from it.
If you like to keep the external calendar of sacred seasons, that’s wonderful. Even in those moments, we may choose to be here, now. Perhaps in that doubly sacred time–proclaimed by the calendar, but noticed and honored in the present moment of the heart and mind in synchronicity–we may have our most revealing experiences.