The Importance of Temples


What makes a temple? Is it the walls that contain a sacred space? Is it the energy that is infused into the structure? Or is it just as the individual defines it? The definition of temple that I am working with is a place where one (or many) goes to connect to their experience of divinity. There is no right or wrong way to connect. For some it may be prayer; others, silent contemplation. For some people it may be ecstatic dance or creating art. We all have our preferred way of reconnecting into a place of comfort, joy, deep inner peace, and safety. For many people this is associated with an activity or particular place but ultimately I believe that this place lives inside us. For myself, I reach that place with the intention of going deeper and then letting go into that great mystery, as if slipping into the warm waters of a dark ocean at night. When I begin to feel the current of this great mystery hold me in warmth, I allow it to take me deeper into this awareness.

Although it is not necessary to have a dedicated space for your inner journey, I find that it is helpful to have some place that is familiar and comfortable. A place that feels protected from the chaos of the world and everyday life. Many of us can remember a particular place where we spent time as a child. A refuge from the difficulties of learning about the world and its inhabitants. One particular reason for having a special place to spend time is that you build upon the energy created there. As with any practice that is revisited daily, you create a stronger vessel in which your inner travels take shape. It allows you to slip more easily and more deeply into your sacred connection. This is your temple.

Constructing a dedicated space for this aspect of your life can have a profound impact on every area of your existence. Not only do you have a place to go where you can easily drop in, but having a physical space also allows the energy to build over time and radiate into the space around it. Think of it like a fire in a woodstove that you continually stoke. The warmth from the stove will begin to spread into all areas of your house. This is how energy works, although it is not confined to the same physical laws as heat from a stove. As you build your practice in a dedicated space, it becomes an anchor for your life.

There are many forms that this place can take. It can be a room with a comfortable chair or cushion in which to meditate. It can be a quiet spot in the garden or one with a fountain. It can be a favorite stone with a particularly nice view. The beauty of a spot with stone is that stone has the ability to more easily hold and ground earth energy than human made materials. It allows a direct connection with nature and the earth to be more easily accessible for your connection time. Stone will also anchor and support whatever you are trying to allow or achieve in your life.

Many think of temples as ancient stone structures that are part of another time, partly lost and forgotten. I like to think of temples as personal and welcoming. Places where we go to find answers and comfort. Places where we go to transform and connect more deeply to ourselves and others. They can be quiet or filled with beautiful music. Places for stillness or movement. What brings you closer to a more meaningful life? Where is your temple? What can we build together?