Awake in the World

A sacred space is a place where you will find yourself again and again.

An ideal way to make inner sacred space manifest in the world is to create an altar. The word altar comes from Latin and literally means “to lift up.” An altar is a physical place to put images and objects that lift up the mind to spiritual heights.

Nearly every spiritual tradition uses some form of altar to elevate worshipers to a higher experience. In Asian cultures it’s not uncommon to see altars in family-owned restaurants with offerings to the Buddha, Ganesha (the remover of obstacles), or Lakshmi (the goddess of wealth).

In Asian homes, an altar with images of ancestors, favorite deities and sacred objects becomes a sacred place to render homage to the Divine. A friend turned her attic into her private meditation space. She placed a low table in front of a round window and placed some of her favorite things on it including a feather, stones, and a statue of the Buddha with a peaceful face to inspire her to be peaceful.

An altar can be very simple and find a space on the corner of an office desk. I have a little traveling altar that I take with me when on the road. It includes an image of the Divine, some favorite stones and a candle. One of the most beautiful altars I’ve seen outside of a temple was in the private room of a revered Tibetan Lama. In addition to a place to burn incense, he included framed images of his teachers and his family.

If you decide to create an altar, consider what inspired your mind to soar to divine heights. It need not be an elaborate space, but simply a place where you can return to and bring your mind home to rest.

Bio: Debra Moffitt is author of Awake in the World: 108 Practices to Live a Divinely Inspired Life. A visionary and teacher, she’s devoted to nurturing the spiritual in everyday life. She leads workshops on spiritual practices at the Sophia Institute and other venues in the U.S. and Europe. Her mind/body/spirit articles, essays and stories appear in publications around the globe and were broadcast by BBC World Services Radio. She has spent over fifteen years practicing meditation, working with dreams and doing spiritual practices. Visit her online at

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