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When we wake up in the morning, many of us automatically go on our phones or computers and start reading, checking messages, responding to things, and moving through our online world on autopilot.
We go through our day like this as well, managing as best we can, dealing with stress and being overwhelmed, moving through the physical world forgetting to be mindful.
For the most part, everything is normal. We’re managing. On good days, things go pretty well. On bad days, frustration and stress get to us.
But what if we could shift everything in a magical way?
What would happen if we changed the way we saw every single thing around us, including other people, including ourselves, including every little thing we see?
Try this: view every single thing you see as sacred.
See what happens.
Now, I’ll admit that “sacred” is a loaded word for many people who are not religious. It literally means “connected with God (or the gods),” and so if you’re not religious, it might seem a bit dumb. But I don’t believe in God, and still find value in the idea that things might be sacred. Hear me out.
“Sacred” is simply elevating something to the level of divine. That might be God, if you believe in God, but it could be the divinity in the universe, the miracle of existence and every moment. If you think of how crazy it is that we exist, and think of how wonderful and miraculous this universe is … I would argue that it’s divine, no matter what you believe in.
Look outside: the trees and flowers and birds you can see are filled with divinity. They are absolutely sacred. So is the wind, the stars, the sunlight falling upon the faces of strangers, the ability to see colors and to have a conversation and connection with a fellow human being.
Think of all that changes:
- If you start to see something as sacred, it no longer becomes “ho hum,” no longer becomes something you’re taking for granted. You fully appreciate the beauty of that sacred object or being.
- If you see another person as sacred, then you treat them with respect and even love, you look deep into the loveliness of their soul and broken heart, you are grateful for your connection to them.
- If you see your possessions as sacred, you don’t toss them in the trash or put them any old place — you put it away with care.
- If you see your work as sacred, you no longer feel it’s a burden, but a gift. You do it out of devotion, with love, instead of just trying to get through it.
- If you see yourself as sacred, all of a sudden you start to see the goodness within yourself. You treat yourself better, putting healthy food inside of yourself instead of junk.
- If you see the world around you as sacred, you move through it with awe. With a sense of wanting to applaud the universe for its magical creation. With a sense of purpose, being the audience of this miracle, wanting to fully appreciate it.
Look at everything around you with awe and appreciation. Treat it with respect and care. Put things away with reverence. Treat others as if you are connecting with the divine. And treat yourself with as a manifestation of the universe that has somehow been given the gift of realizing its own sacredness.
That is true magic, and it is always available.
The Magic of Seeing Everything as Sacred was first published on Zen Habits on 6/27/18.