Creating a Sacred Place for a Sacred Relationship
If you were studying for an important and difficult exam, and you had the choice of studying in a library or at a party, which would you choose? Since the right environment is conducive to good study, you’d choose the library. Similarly, the environment in which you chant affects the quality of your japa. Therefore, it’s essential that you create a “Sacred Space” for your japa.
A Sacred Space is an environment that fully supports your japa. It should be a place in which nothing else but japa is going on, and a place that fosters concentration on and absorption in the holy names.
Sacred Space not only includes where you chant, but also when you chant. A sacred space is both a place and a time that are most conducive to good japa.
As we all know, chanting early in the morning is the best time to chant. So one of the most important sadhana practices you can do to improve your rounds is to rise early. Also, you will notice that daily chanting in the same place and at the same time empowers that space; it becomes the place where good rounds are chanted.
Sacred Space can also be created wherever you are. Let’s say you are at the temple and some devotees are talking during japa, or a lot of things are going on in the temple room during japa time (like on festival days). Strange as it may sound, you will need to find Sacred Space at the temple, a place away from the commotion where you can chant without being disturbed and where you can concentrate.
The same holds true when you travel. If you must chant on a bus, airplane, or train, do your best to zone out the rest of the world so you can focus on your chanting. You will need to make a little Sacred Space japa bubble when you are out in public.
I have found that when chanting in these crowded areas, I can often create a Sacred Space when I focus on feeling the vibration of the mantra. When I feel the holy name vibrating in my body, it tends to pull my attention away from external sounds and sights and naturally internally focuses my mind. (You can also try this when you are at home.)
Chanting is sacred time for developing our sacred relationship. Kṛṣṇa certainly deserves our full attention. Making a Sacred Space for chanting is like setting up a nice dinner table for a loved one. Although we can eat dinner anywhere, it is more special with a beautiful tablecloth, low lighting, flowers, candle light, and nice background music. Our Sacred Space is meant to be a special place where we can most readily and deeply connect with Kṛṣṇa.
Ultimately the real Sacred Space is meant to be within us. But the external environment affects the internal environment.
Write down the realizations you get this week by creating Sacred Space.