What Do “Sacred” and “Divine” Mean?
Part One: Personal Inquiry into the Concepts
It is good to begin to live in the inquiry around each concept.
“Living in the inquiry” means maybe once a day asking a question inside, such as any of questions suggested below, and being still and quiet and waiting at least a few minutes for some answer or insight to pop into awareness. If nothing comes, then going about one’s day but staying open.
And it also means asking the question now and then at random times, and being alert to answers or insights that pop in at random times.
What you do with what “comes” from inquiry, can vary. Any or all of those can be useful; see what you are called to do. You could be
- writing it down
- acting in a new way
- teaching it to others
- taking the new sense or response back into further
- simply letting your consciousness absorb it into your being, without any mental effort.
There is also a useful approach called spiritual contemplation, which is even simpler than inquiry, and suitable for single concepts like this. Simply be quiet for a time, and keep repeating the word to yourself, gently, every so often, and see what arises in you as you gently keep your attention on the word. I recommend doing that in addition to the more elaborate process of inquiry using questions.
Sample Inquiry Questions about Personal Conceptual Meaning
Here are some inquiry questions using the concept of “sacred” as an example, but please also use all these questions around the concept of “divine.”
What does this concept of “sacred” mean to me conceptually?
Is it an important concept to me personally? Why or why not?
What is the significance of this concept in my life?
Why do I think or believe or feel it is an important concept for others to be aware of?
What are the meanings I think others have of it?
Is it truth, or is it a belief, when I say something is sacred or divine? How do I decide that?
Is it honest for me when I apply the word to something?
How do I know or decide what is sacred and what is not sacred?
What do I mentally regard as sacred?
What is not sacred, for me and/or for others?? Why is it not sacred, for me and/or for others? What does sacredness depend on, for me or them?
How has my understanding of this concept changed over time?
What is the leading edge of this concept in my own evolution of it or personal journey with it?
What are my deepest personal questions I am living with, about this concept?
Sample Inquiry Questions about Religious and Spiritual Significance of the Concepts
Are the concepts of sacred and divine important in my own spirituality or religion? If so, how, and if not, why not? In other words, what role does each concept play in my personal religion or spirituality?
Part 2: Experiences
For each concept, you might ask yourself questions like these, and make notes.
What does it mean to me experientially?
What do I feel experientially as sacred? What are those feelings, and how do I experience them in my body?
How might others experience something as sacred? On what basis do I say that? What have I seen or known of others’ experiences of sacred?
How has my deepest experiential sense and “getting” of this concept changed over time based on my experiences of it in life?
What is the leading edge of this concept as I experience it in my own personal journey with it?
What are my deepest personal questions about my experiences related to this concept?
Do I have any resistance to this concept, or am I uncomfortable about it in any way, or am I aware of some shadow aspects of me triggered by it in some way?
What role does the experience related to each concept play in my personal religious experiences or spiritual experiences?
How does this concept show up for me in my inner experience? What meaning does it have for me there?
How does this concept show up for me in my behavior and how others see my actions? What meaning does it have for me there?
How does this concept show up for me in my experiences and actions as a social being, in culture? What meaning does it have for me there?
How does this concept show up for me in my interactions with social systems? What meaning does it have for me there?
Which of the questions suggested above are alive for you around each concept? What questions not mentioned above, are alive for you around each concept?
Questions and comments welcome below!