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Discovering YourSelf Through Sacred Sites

Why do people travel so far and make so much effort to get to sacred sites?

You don’t have to go to a sacred site in order to have a mystical experience. You don’t even have to leave your home, and yet thousands of people travel to sacred sites every year. Why?

Intrigue is one reason we visit sacred sites. A number of documentaries can be found on various sacred places from India to Europe. We really want to know what mystical events have been purported to take place and what makes them so special. Look at the attention France, Scotland and Ireland are getting right now with so many unanswered questions about the grail legends. Just stepping on the land can take us back into history to explore the questions we rarely give ourselves the opportunity to explore.

Some of us are drawn to visit sacred sites purely out of historical curiosity. Sacred sites are not only designated as spiritually unique places, but most of them have historic significance as well. For someone who loves to understand people and beliefs, sacred sites have often been the center of activity and philosophies that have defined entire cultures. Of course, learning about ancient civilizations-their perspectives about life and spiritual views-can provide us with tremendous insights about ourselves.

Some go seeking mystical experiences. While mystical experiences can and do happen at sacred sites, seeking them engages the ego, which actually causes us to experience greater separation from the mystical. Going with this intent may prove to be disappointing. The very vibration of sacred space practically demands we shed our ego, transcend our limits, and be present in the moment. If we don’t, we usually experience very little. If we do, experiences can be profound and unforeseen.

Healing is one of the reasons we travel to sacred sites. We hear that touching the water, a stone, or sacred object brings people miraculous health, and so we journey to these places in hope that we will find relief from our suffering for ourselves or loved ones. What we may discover as we approach such sacred sites is that the real healing transformation was happening the entire time we prepared for the trip, as we faced our own fears and doubts. When the inner struggle with our concerns is finished and we are fully open to being in complete love, indeed the intense energy of sacred sites can help us fulfill our healing process through the profound loving presence we experience.

Our lives from the past may call us to visit old homes and former lives, so that ancient wisdom can be awakened within us. I have observed people opening to memories of knowledge they once had on sacred site tours. Egypt was perhaps the most profound in this regard as individuals remembered ceremonies they had done, rituals they had performed and ancient promises they had made. Many realized they had come to fulfill significant commitments they made lifetimes ago to bless the sacred sites they once created.

When we honor the spiritual energies of the sacred sites with our gratitude and blessings, we might discover we are awakening latent energies within the land, the spirits and ourselves. The sacred space responds to our touch, our love and our respect for its life force. In these precious moments, the mystical doorways open, and the reason we thought we came to a sacred site disappears. In its place we experience a humble relationship between us and the space, and the vastness of what there is yet to know. We catch a glimmer-just a glimmer-of why the space is called sacred and why we are really there.

Reverend Misa Hopkins is the Spiritual Director of the New Dream Foundation. For more information about their sacred site tours and rituals, visit http://www.NewDreamFoundation.com

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5 Responses to “Discovering YourSelf Through Sacred Sites”

  1. Alan Tutt says:

    For many people, it’s a lot easier to believe a far-away place can be magical than it is to believe we can be magical ourselves anywhere we happen to be. For some, the act of traveling helps to make a mental shift away from limiting thought patterns.

    And then there is the fact that sacred sites have a reputation for facilitating powerful effects, such as healing or spiritual awakening. When we expect to have an experience just because we are in a particular location, our beliefs create the experience. Just ask anyone who thought they were being cured by the bones of a saint to find out later they were just dog bones.

    As you say, you don’t have to leave home to have a mystical experience. However, for most people, it’s just easier to believe in mystical experiences when they visit a sacred site.

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  2. Leila says:

    Maybe the experience of a sacred site is different if you have been drawn to it. This way you may stay open to experience rather than, as the article says, separating from it through expectation. Thanks for this.

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  3. Misa says:

    Alan,

    Thanks for responding. You offer some significant perspectives. I would certainly agree that traveling does help us shift out of our patterns. And I would also agree that our beliefs influence the experiences that we have.

    I’ve also had the experience of going to a sacred site with no expectation at all—just sensing the land itself—to find myself standing still in another reality. I do believe the land and place themselves, as well as those of us who visit them have our own energy fields. And that is part of the fun of visiting sacred site—experiencing their unique signatures in the world.

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  4. Misa says:

    Leila,

    Yes, there is something about a site you feel particularly drawn to. I remember visiting a site and going there later after the tourists had left. I was praying when suddenly I was speaking another language, I didn’t know nor had heard before. When I finished I thought, “Uh oh, it is going to rain.” Minutes later it poured!

    I think I must have had some affinity or past life with that incredible space. (I’m chuckling as I remember this! I was drenched!)

    You may be on to something here – that draw or pull to the place may indeed effect the kind of experience we have. Thanks for sharing.

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  5. Cynthia says:

    It’s funny you should say that a person feels they would need to go away to some sacred land to get a mystical feeling. What people fail to realize that with the five senses we have(w/others 6) we can call upon that same feeling. I know when I was a young mother there wasn’t any place I could go–but when I read a lot of Dr. Seuss books to my children it was as if I was re-living a second childhood and remembering rather pleasant times in my life and let me tell you it allowed me to deal tremendously as a young mother. One book that still sticks in my mind to this day is “Oh the places you’ll go”" and I know it may sound a little weird but it helped me. I embarked on reading books from other regions and I would have to catch myself from saying things like Oh I’ve been there when in reality I was not.

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