Note: According to the American Institute of Stress, work-related agitation is the major source of stress for American adults (although it is certainly not a uniquely American problem). In addition to common stressors like coworker issues and workload, many of us struggle with the stress of having to fulfill a less-than-satisfying work role in order to live more or less check-to-check. We sometimes feel like we lose our identities, our spirituality, and our dreams in order to serve the mundane reality that work promotes. It is the author’s hope that this message helps the stressed worker find spiritual peace and the energy to pursue a more fulfilling future. Please share this meditation with anyone you know who is fatigued from the workplace or struggling professionally.
Building Sacred Grounds
"AN INSPIRATIONAL MESSAGE FOR THE WORKDAY"
Copyright 2015 Michael Priebe
Aerial Image of Indian Effigy Mounds at Effigy Mounds National Monument, Iowa - wikimedia
“Let them construct a sanctuary for Me, that I may dwell among them.” Exodus 25:8 NASB
“Behold, the kingdom of God is within you.” Luke 17:21 KJV
Ancient Native American effigy mounds are scattered throughout much of the American Midwest. These impressive structures were constructed by communities of Native American people to bury their dead and serve as focal points of spiritual ceremony. The mounds—some dating back 3,000 years—often take the shape of animals with powerful attributes: eagles, bears, and panthers. The mounds are often constructed atop the highest points of a given region, perhaps to get closer to God. Visitors to state parks and national monuments built around these mounds can hike through miles of forest to arrive at clearings featuring large groupings of these mounds. However, trailside signs and tour guides alike warn visitors to avoid actually setting foot atop the mounds: they are considered sacred grounds.
Sacred grounds are places where the sanctity of life is recognized. They are places where life and death alike are recognized as gifts from a higher power, and they are connections to that higher power. Sacred grounds are places where we recognize that our souls are too important to be cheapened by daily commerce or the commotion of selfish pursuits.
How many sacred places do you have in the course of your daily walk through life? Would you ever consider your workplace sacred?
In the middle of computerized systems and mundane work rhetoric, it can be easy to forget about the spiritual essence of your life. In the midst of job titles and human resource guidelines, it can be easy to forget that you are unique. But the space and time surrounding you are special; they are things to be protected. Like the grounds of ancient effigy mounds, you’re too important to be trampled. Your existence is supernatural and exceptional. It is sacred.
It can seem as if each year in our society brings a greater erosion of sacred places. Caught up in our busy, technologically advanced lives, we can lose sight of the sacred. We stare at our cellphones instead of truly listening to friends and family members, and we are often too tired for spiritual life after spending all day burning out our retinas with e-mails and spreadsheets.
Sometimes in the business world, it seems as if our interaction is all contracts and business lingo, as if nobody has a soul underneath it all. Have you ever felt that your workplace is a little profane and a little lacking in spirit?
Without a focus on spiritual things and sacred places, life can quickly devolve into something cheap and disposable. It can become little more than fodder for crude humor, sad anecdote, and the pursuit of perishable wealth. The trick to keeping life worth something is to remember that our bodies house something sacred: they are the containers of our souls, and they represent a very real connection to God and to the earth that He created for us to walk on each day.
Today, remember that every place you step is sacred ground. If you can recognize this, both at work and at home, then you will be motivated to take further steps toward recognizing the sacred. You will be compelled to build visible signs and monuments on top of your soul—acts of kindness, faith, and worship that can be proudly illuminated by God’s great constellations.
Today, take great pride in your life and work, knowing that your unique spirit has the capacity through faith to build sacred places wherever you go.