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Free Resources – Teaching Points, Readings & Theme Plan – Sacredness, Devotion, Honor & Respect

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Theme Readings Overview

In this curation of readings, we explore teachings that point students toward an understanding and feeling state of sacredness.

Objective

Be prepared to teach the philosophy and practice of honor and respect, sacredness and devotion.

Description

Share a number of inspirational teachings on the meaning of “sacred” and how to recognize and honor all as sacred.


Theme Plan

You may also download a free Theme Plan—a guide for incorporating this theme into class. It includes:

    • Teaching Points
    • Readings
    • Suggestions for Inviting a Personal Connection
    • Practices for Applying the Theme in Class
    • Teaching Tips & Reminders
    • Off-the-Mat Practices

We offer two formats to meet the various needs of teachers. Both are Word documents that you may edit, and both have virtually the same content. The difference is in how the information is presented.

    • Simple Format is a typical Word document and is organized by teaching resources.
    • Table Format has the information within a table and is organized by class segment.*
    • Format 1 is a list organized by topic.
    • Format 2 is a table organized by section of class.*
*If you are viewing the documents on a mobile device, Format 2 may not appear properly formatted. To see it correctly, select Word (a free app) on your device (using the Share icon on Iphone). Or you can view it on a computer. Another option is to make any desired edits in Word and then save as a PDF, which will then appear properly on mobile devices.

Downloadable Theme Plans


What Does it Mean to Be Sacred?

Sacred: Holy, Valued, Important, Deserving Respect

Worthy of religious worship: very holy

Highly valued and important: deserving great respect

– Merriam-Webster Dictionary   link

Intention & Presence

How can we demonstrate that something is “highly valued” and “deserving great respect?” We do this by bringing forth these qualities:

    • Intention
    • Presence

Sacredness is not defined through particular rituals. It’s not the acts themselves that signal honor and devotion, but rather the intention behind them, and the presence while undertaking them. Thus, virtually anything can be treated as sacred and any act can be done with great respect.

If we intend, or choose, to treat something or someone with honor and respect, and we follow through with mindfully, then how we move and talk will demonstrate and hold our intention.

 

Namaste as an Example

  • The Namaste / Namaskar greeting, for example, is commonly understood as, “I bow to you.” The spiritual purpose of the greeting is said to honor the divinity (or “Light”) in those we meet, and to remind ourselves and others of the oneness and divinity of all life.
  • When done with presence and intention, greeting with Namaste can be a way of making ourselves into an offering, through an attitude of surrender and gratitude.
  • In this way, we are offering ourselves and demonstrating our respect for the other person as well as ourselves and all life.

Nothing is Unsacred, Only Desecrated

Sparkling brilliance by Wendell Berry:

Breathe with unconditional breath

the unconditioned air.

Shun electric wire.

Communicate slowly. Live

a three-dimensioned life;

stay away from screens.

Stay away from anything

that obscures the place it is in.

There are no unsacred places;

there are only sacred places

and desecrated places.

– Wendell Berry, How to Be a Poet (to remind myself)

The Precious Experience of Life

But Namaste is just one example. With conscious presence and intention, we can demonstrate the sacredness of anything we love.

Whether Life is Eternal or Not, it is Precious

In the end, I don’t think it matters much whether we conceive of life as eternal or as bounded by the events of birth and death. Either way, we must treat it as the precious experience that it is. For me, the lesson is one of awareness and observation — to look at a partner, child, or friend and see them fully, rejoice in them, laugh at the beauty of them. The same is true for clear skies, gathering storms, Redwood trees, bad drivers, potholes and humidity. – Norman Allen, On Being Mortal: Theologian Ponderings on Cancer  link

The Preciousness of a Brand New Sun

The Navajo teach their children that every morning when the sun comes up it’s a brand-new sun. It’s born each morning, it lives for the duration of one day, and in the evening it passes on, never to return again. The adults take the children out at dawn and they say, “The sun has only one day. You must live this day in a good way, so that the sun won’t have wasted precious time.” Acknowledging the preciousness of each day is a good way to live, a good way to reconnect with our basic joy. – Pema Chodron, The Wisdom of No Escape and the Path of Loving Kindness 1991, p 26  link

Feeling the Radiance

Click the link below for a 5-minute video by Eric Klein of Wisdom Heart entitled “How to See the Sacred (When Life Goes Sideways).”

It’s easy to feel the blessed energy of life when everything is going our way. When the livin’ is easy. When your daddy’s rich and your mama’s good-lookin’. But conditions aren’t always so easy. The real challenge is to feel the radiance in harder times, when things aren’t going as planned. What then? This week’s Nano Teaching invites us to attune to the ever-present goodness that can be known through meditative awareness.

– Eric Klein, Elephant Journal, How to find our Inner Light — in the Darkest of Times link

 

Experience the Sacredness of Yoga

Experience the Sacredness of Yoga

Experience the sacredness of yoga. Enter the sanctuary of your soul. Treat your body as a temple, explore the sacredness of the embodied soul… It is simple to integrate the sacredness of the soul into your practice of postures. Experience the presence of the spirit and the glory of the divine. Manifest it as peace, love and joy in your heart. This practice offers you direct passage to the soul’s innermost corridors. It retrieves, recaptures and integrates the sacred wisdom of yoga. It elevates the ordinary practice of yoga to a level of sacredness of the soul. You experience it more like a prayer than posture; more like a divine dance than strained discipline. – Gurudev, amrityoga.org, The Sacred Yoga  link

Poses as an Offering

In class, I asked people to do a pose of their choice as an offering to [The Divine] and to observe, “What makes it an offering? With the introduction of the word “offering,” a different tone came into the room, a shift in the atmosphere. I could almost hear the competitive, judgmental and insecure parts shuffling aside as the heart was given the chance to come forward. People chose many different poses—Warrior, Tree, Bridge, Headstand, Sitting Forward Bend. It wasn’t that any particular pose embodied devotion, but that devotion could imbue any pose—from the most dynamic to the most gentle. All twenty practitioners agreed that it was their intent that created the alchemy. – Swami Lalitananda,The Inner Life of Asanas 2007 p 93  link


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