That Holy Place

8_placeWhere do you find complete peace? Emotional and spiritual sanctuary?  Feel fully open and receptive, without the distractions of fears, fretting, or lists of the mundane. A sense of expansive graciousness and serenity. A place of creative vitality. Experiencing wholeness at a visceral level.

This is a great week to remember when you’ve had that feeling, and to invite it into your life more often, and use that energy to move forward on your chosen path.

You’ve heard the phrase, Jacob’s ladder. It comes from the story where Jacob, traveling, lays his head on a rock to sleep, and dreams of a ladder to the heavens, with angels ascending and descending. Upon awakening, he exclaims, God was in this place and I did not know!

The Hebrew word hamakom (pronounced hah-mah-comb) literally means “the place.” It connotes the physical place where events occur. But in a deeper sense, hamakom means exactly that place of stillness when you’re completely connected with the universe: no ego/I running the show. No busy-ness, no questions, and no need to be anywhere but present. A holy silence you’d happily visit, and are nourished simply by knowing it exists.

In her wonderful book My Stroke of Insight, Jill Bolte Taylor describes the first few weeks of a stroke that left her completely in her right brain as floating in a place of divine calm. Peaceful euphoria. Surrendering. No longer needing to be in charge. Focused but content just being.

This feeling is very similar to what athletes describe when they are in the zone, time and opponents standing still. Or what the mother of an infant feels when her child is asleep and she has three minutes of uninterrupted bliss in a hot shower. Traditional methods of access include meditation, chant, and prayer. They all lead to a similar hamakom: a place where the self, the I/ego/me that we spend lots of time feeding and providing for, letting run our lives into complex urgency, takes backseat to a greater sense of universal meaning and calm. Instead of frenzy we have peace.

We can get to hamakom simply, by offering ourselves more chances to go there. Whether you have a formal daily practice or whether you access hamakom through a walk in the woods, music, or some other gate, I hope you allow yourself the beautiful sense of complete beingness the word offers. It’s worth honoring and acknowledging more regularly. It’ll make you happier.

Try a simple experiment to open the doors of your heart and psyche. A couple times a day this week, in addition to your normal practices, ask to go to hamakom. Then close your eyes for twenty seconds and focus on your breathing. In, out. In, out. Nothing formal. No mantras or prayers. Just breath. Slowing down. Being present. Being in hamakom. Try it. See if it changes anything.

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