Guest Post: The [Sacred] Object of Your Affection
Master Anand Mehrota once said, “Meditation is not something you do, but something that happens to you.” The practice of sitting and observing the mind is how we invite meditation to happen to us, but relaxing the body and calming the mind enough to observe… can be challenging! In these times, many of us start from a place in our daily lives that makes it really hard to just calm down to the state that invites meditation. The best way to start is by putting down our electronics, but beyond that, we can use sacred objects as tools to help us find our meditative states.
What is a sacred object? It is any object that you decide is sacred, that you give meaning to, and that you can use as a focus to help you relax. To find a sacred object, choose any favourite place to look for inspiration. Do you go for a hike every weekend? Choose a pinecone you see on your favourite trail. Maybe you have a souvenir from your last vacation. You could choose a photo that represents serenity to you. Of course, rock shops and bookstores often have energetic crystals or small sculptures that could hold meaning for you. Don’t force yourself to choose the ‘right’ object, simply select anything that resonates with your ideas of calm and is a useful tool (don’t pick a garden sculpture if you live in a walk-up apartment with no balcony!)
The steps to having a sacred object are simple:
- You may choose an object or you may use an object chosen for you by a loved one.
- The object must have meaning for you.
- You should like your sacred object.
That’s all you have to consider. Your sacred object may not even be an ‘object,’ it could be a song, a mantra, or even a scent. It just has to be something that you enjoy and that will help you trigger a state of calm.
The benefit of a physical object is that it takes up space in your presence and so sometimes it can pop into your consciousness by being noticed. For example, you might keep your sacred object on your bedside table so that you see it when you first arise and it reminds you of your morning practice, a sadhana. Or perhaps you take your sacred object to work and put it next to your phone so you’re reminded of calm whenever you answer it. Some wear their sacred object so they can touch it whenever they want to be reminded of their practice. It could make more sense to leave your sacred object in a peaceful place when you go somewhere stressful—and it could be different every day. Paying attention to the choices you make with your object is part of your calming-down practice.
Once you have a sacred object, simply start using it in order to start charging it up! Sit with it every time you meditate. You now have a focus for your practice, which can help you to set goals. “I will meditate in front of [the Millennium Falcon] every day this week” Or “I’ll do one mala-round of 108 repetitions of my mantra whenever I’m procrastinating at work”. Your sacred object will be like an email flag, and you will remember your commitment.
When you are meditating, as you feel yourself calming, envision the flow of elevated energy between yourself and your object. It is charged with your sacred energy. You can use it like a battery. In this way, your sacred object becomes a tool to initiate your practice. Its energy will be a reminder every time you encounter it, and it will bring back your state of calm. Continue to be powered by its sacred energy through your day, and through your meditation charge it. Care for your object and for your practice of calm, and it will lead you to the place where ‘meditation happens to you’.
Christy Borden is a mom, designer, yoga and meditation teacher and the founder of MetaJuju. She aims to discover, share and preserve the wonders of Earth and the cosmos with all humanity. Please email her at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions about sacred objects.