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Holy Ground




Brother David Steindl-Rast wrote: “Grateful living is the awareness that we stand on holy ground—always—in touch with Mystery.”


I remember an early conversation with a Roman Catholic friend of mine while sitting on a grassy hill at our junior high school. I’d asked if she could hang out that Sunday, and she looked both alarmed and confused as she let me know that she had church on Sunday and therefore could not. She wondered that I didn’t have church on Sunday. When I told her that no, I wasn’t going to church on that particular Sunday, she shared her panicked concern for my soul – and then she asked me how could I worship God if I didn’t go to church?


It was my turn to be baffled. I remember telling her that I was equally puzzled that she felt she had to be in a church, let alone a specific church to worship God. Wasn’t she aware that the ground we were sitting on at that very moment had been created by God, and was thus holy ground? And so, where better to worship God than right where we were, wherever we were.


Being that I was raised Unitarian, and that the minister of that church was an atheist, I have absolutely no idea how the term “holy ground” even came into my vocabulary, but I remember feeling in that moment the absolute conviction that every place in nature where my foot pressed the ground was holy. That every rock, every blade of grass, every tree radiated the presence of God. And the knowing of that took my breath away. I marveled at the mystery and miracle of the world around me. In those moments, the world seemed rich and intimate, vibrant and alive.


I still feel that way, when I am paying attention. And this is key. In order to have the experience of wholeness we have to pay attention. When I kneel in my garden with the smell of dirt and green and the sun on my back, I slow down. I start paying attention. I become present.. When the killdeer chitters at me, sure that I am after her eggs, or a ladybug lands on the back of my hand, I feel part of something bigger than myself, yet also intimately personal, something infinitely mysterious. I remember that I am kneeling on holy ground, and I feel overwhelmed with gratitude.


Holy ground isn’t limited to where our physical feet are planted. Wherever you are, God is. Wherever you are is holy ground. And all who are around you are also on holy ground. We just have to be open to it. Be open to remembering it. Be open to being aware of it.


Unity metaphysics teaches that to take off our shoes on holy ground means to release our limited thinking about the Infinite One, the Absolute All-ness, so that we may remember that we cannot be separate. We remove our shoes of limitation so that we can remember that we are whole, that we are love, that we are peace and wisdom and joy. That we are holy. When we take off the shoes of limitation that keep us believing that we are somehow separate, we then know that we are not. We then know that we can’t be.


And why is this important, this felt experience of our Oneness, this felt experience of our wholeness? It’s important, because it changes us. And when we are changed, it changes how we are in the world. When we can live from a greater awareness of our wholeness and our holiness, we show up differently in the world, with greater love, with greater peace, with more joy.


When I feel this way, when I feel full and alive and part of that greater something, I am also clear that there is a difference between choosing “not death” and life.

To choose “not death” is to settle for a half-life, reactive, full of fear and smallness, pretending a safety in sameness, peering at life from behind the drawn curtains of excuses, allowing the shoes of our limitations to pinch our feet.


Oh, but to choose life – to choose life is to experience an intense awe about the wholeness and holiness and mystery of life. So much to notice, to see, to experience: the airplane overhead, the smell of morning coffee, a hummingbird, the wind, a butterfly, a sigh. To have one’s senses open fully, experiencing each moment with an exquisite intensity, each heartbeat a gift, a delight, each breath fresh and full.


Even during times that appear difficult, we can remember that wherever we are is holy ground. That in spite of appearances, we are still whole and holy - appearances do not change the Truth! We can stop and close our eyes and notice once again that we are being breathed, we are being breathed! and begin again to reclaim our inner knowing of the Truth of who and what we are.


This moment is sacred. This moment is holy. Where you sit is holy. Where your feet touch the ground is sacred.


We are sacred. We are holy. We are filled with the limitless potential of a limitless Creator. What will we do with this holy day? What will we do with this God filled moment?


Let’s take our shoes off and embrace our wholeness and our holiness. Let’s choose a full and abundant life.


I invite you to feel God breathing you, to experience the quickening of your soul, to delight in the smile of a loved one or a stranger, the patter of small feet along the sidewalk, to delight in your tears - experience it all fully. Let the joy and the mystery of it bring you to your knees.


Allow the Truth of who you are to flood your awareness so that you know, unequivocally, that wherever you are, you stand on holy ground.


Namaste


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