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Lessons from a Recovering Doormat

I’m a big believer in creating an environment both where you live and where you work that reflects your spirit. It should be organized and have at least some personal touches that make you feel good. So I’m delighted to have as my guest today, Asha Praver, lecturer, teacher, counselor, Spiritual Co-Director of the Ananda Palo Alto Community, and author of Swami Kriyananda as We Have Known Him.



Transform Your Environment with Sacred Spaces

By Asha Praver

We don’t create the holiness of life. We remember it. Just behind the mundane, the divine, is always hovering. How much of that divinity we experience is a matter of where we put our attention. All of spiritual practice is learning to stay focused on the deeper reality behind the everyday events of life.


A simple way to help you remember is to create within your home or work environment sacred spaces. They don’t have to be large, elaborate, or expensive. You don’t have to shock your co-workers or add a room to your house. In fact many small spaces are often better than one large one. With several, wherever you are, you will be reminded.


Sacred spaces, however, should not be shrines to the things of this world you already love. Photos of loved ones, mementos of places you’ve been, pictures of things you’d like to acquire should be kept elsewhere in your environment.


Sacred spaces are to help you attune to the transcendent reality behind these cherished loves, experiences, and desires. “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and all these things shall be added unto you.”

Here are three simple guidelines for setting up your sacred spaces.


1. Put your sacred spaces wherever you spend the most time. You want to see them when you enter and leave the house, wash the dishes, work at the computer, talk on the phone, or first wake up in the morning. Put them near, but not in the actual workflow. A wall or a window ledge, for example, is usually better than your nightstand, desk, or the kitchen counter, where everyday clutter can easily encroach on them.


2. Keep them simple. Your sacred spaces should have an immediate spiritual impact on you. Choose things of inherent power that have personal meaning. Sacred symbols like the cross, Star of David, or AUM, or items from Nature work well. Images of gurus or saints, especially if the consciousness in the eyes is clearly visible, are ideal. Make the Dalai Lama, Mother Theresa, Paramhansa Yogananda, or Jesus Christ your everyday companion. Word messages are also good, especially if you can get the meaning at a glance. “Hope.” “Faith.” “God Loves You.” Everyone needs to be reminded.


3. Keep it fresh. Don’t let dust, dead flowers, or burned out candles accumulate on your sacred spaces! If you are neglecting the sacred spaces in your outer environment it probably means you need to give more attention to your inner self as well. If what you have placed there no longer inspires you, then start over. Keep trying until you find those images that resonate with your soul and have an enduring capacity to lift your consciousness. Making a sacred space is a spiritual journey in itself.


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About the Author: Asha Praver is a lecturer, teacher, counselor, Spiritual Co-Director of the Ananda Palo Alto Community, and author of Swami Kriyananda as We Have Known Him. Asha has been trained in yoga, meditation, and spiritual living by Swami Kriyananda, who was a direct disciple of Paramhansa Yogananda. Since 1969 Asha has been a disciple, a meditator, and an intentional community member. Classes on love and relationships by Asha Praver, can be found in the “Talks/Newsletters: CD purchase” section of www.anandapaloalto.org.

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