Monday, July 21, 2008

The Sacred Place

I was flipping through my copy of Joseph Campbell's "The Power of Myth" today, when I came across this exchange:

Moyers: You write in "The Mythic Image" about the center of transformation, the idea of a sacred place where the temporal walls may dissolve to reveal a wonder. What does it mean to have a sacred place?

Campbell: This is an absolute necessity for anybody today. You must have a room, or a certain hour or so a day, where you don't know what was in the newspapers that morning, you don't know who your friends are, you don't know what you owe anybody, you don't know what anybody owes to you. This is a place where you can simply experience and bring forth what you are and what you might be. This is the place of creative incubation. At first you may find that nothing happens there. But if you have a sacred place and use it, something eventually will happen.

Obviously, a sacred place could be an actual physical space--a room, a backyard cove, a nearby park. But I read this to include mental sacred spaces, such as those that are created through meditation, or time you carve out and defend ruthlessly. (As Randy Pausch advises.)

Wherever it is, find it. This place of "creative incubation" truly is necessary, and unfortunately is getting harder and harder to lay claim to, with technology, economic worries and endless news cycles. But see if you can find that place, because once you are there, no one can intrude. And that blissful solitude is something I think we can all benefit from.

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