Monday, November 30, 2009
The Sacred Has a Way of Sneaking up on You
St. George Utah can be kind of a quirky place. It’s a remote and arid landscape that grows outlet malls, golf courses, retirement communities, tanning salons, and time-share condominiums. Despite this oddness, St. George is simultaneously sublime: red rocks, eternal desert wilderness trails, breathtaking desert landscapes, and so close to Kolob canyon and Zions National Park. Besides, compared to St. George’s next-door neighbor, Las Vegas, everything seems mild.
Celeste and I were enjoying a warm Thanksgiving in Zions and stayed in St. George for a few nights before coming back north. Like an oasis in the wilderness of red rock-desert and frozen yogurt shacks stands an amazing restaurant named after its owner, Benja which serves wonderful Thai and Japanese food. We had ordered our meals and were sipping some aromatic jasmine tea when Celeste noticed the music playing in the restaurant. It was very minimal, a soft chant set to simple and basic music. Celeste closed her eyes, leaned back in her chair and listened. After a moment of reverie she said, “We may as well be in a Benedictine monastery in Europe. It’s amazing how the sacred has a way of sneaking up on you.”
And it is amazing how it seems that in the most unlikely of places, this oasis in the desert, both culturally and literally, how we could find this snippet of time at a restaurant where we can sit and enjoy such a beautiful reminder of the Divine. With awareness, one begins to see the sacred in everything, how indeed it can sneak up on you and surprise you when you least expect it. It may take stepping out of our own personal paradigm prison but with a little awareness, we see how not only the desert is a spectacular landscape, but somehow even the tanning salons, outlet malls, and golf courses contain some magic about them. Somehow, if we look deep enough, everything points back to the Divine.
We are being hurled into the holidays and it’s so easy to become cynical and jaded by the commercialism and rat-race of it all. With a little awareness, perhaps we can see how the Divine reveals itself in many ways, from the various spiritual traditions around this time, to people’s desire to give something to others, to somehow even the hustle of holiday shopping. There’s something of the Divine in it all. Perhaps we can see the nuggets of the Divine in the least of likely places this season rather than chalking it up to another year of the same. It’s amazing how the sacred has a way of sneaking up on you.
Come to yoga and let’s practice.