Sacred time & holy night

White sun in blue sky

Relux and call it a deity, when the Light comes down from unchanging Heaven to unstable Earth – over and over again, in our heart.

This is something I didn’t think of first, but learned about from others. I have probably touched on it before – I am a bit of a blabbermouth with sacred secrets, I’m afraid, even if I have little actual experience. Think of it as a postcard from a strange land I am still exploring.

Anyone who engages in spiritual practice should be familiar with time having more than one dimension. There is the straight line of time, which we may call “horizontal time”, the one you measure with a clock. Then there is “eternal time”, to express it paradoxically. This is the constant, in most religions compared to the sky above us (“Heaven” originally means sky too). No matter how far you walk, the sky is still above you. Land changes to water and forest to mountain as you wander, but the sky above you is the same. In a similar way, there is a time above you when you pray or meditate that is endless and unchanging, clear and luminous. We can call this “vertical time”.

Sacred time is where the two meet. The Jews have their Sabbath, a day outside of time. A long list of traditions sets this day apart, puts it outside of the full rush of modernity, and makes it more similar to the Sabbath of a thousand years ago or a thousand years in the future than it is similar to the day before or after.

But this is not the end of it. For the observant Jew – or so a couple of them have claimed, I have not been that – it is more than a tradition. It is holy time, which belongs with eternity. It is consecrated, belonging to the Most High, a time when man meets his Maker and (usually) survives. A time when eternity touches time, when the vertical time comes down and infuses the ordinary time, giving it that extra dimension that it otherwise lacks, the vertical dimension where we have the freedom to reach upward.

The Sabbath is not the only such institution, of course, although it is exceedingly well documented, Jews being notorious intellectuals and lovers of writing. But every religion has its holy days, and for the hardcore practitioner, there is also the regular prayer time. The Orthodox and Catholic churches have the Divine Office or Liturgy of the Hours, in which fixed prayers or Scripture are quoted at certain set times of the day. (They got this too from the Jews, but it has been adapted a great deal over the centuries.)

Islam has, of course, its daily prayers. Unlike Christianity, where lay people are not expected to keep fixed hours of prayer, the faithful of Islam will stop their work if at all possible to pray at the correct time. In addition, there are holy days throughout the years, as there is in every religion.

Eastern faiths also share these traits. The hours of dusk and dawn are frequently set aside for meditation, as a time when the energies of  the Other World are more palpably present.

In each case, the meeting of time and eternity causes an infusion of the holy into the mundane, adding another dimension to time. For those who wish to experience spiritual growth, this is quite necessary. “Timelessness takes time”, and this time spent with eternity causes what St Teresa calls a “dilation” inside.  The moment of Now is by default so brief that it is almost impossible to stay in it: We almost immediately jump into the past (memories) or future (plans, daydreams). But with time spent in sacred time, the Now grows larger, until we fit comfortably in it. (And then it becomes a kingdom inside, and a universe, but that’s how these things go.)

So Christmas, for instance, is not simply a day off from work, to relax. It is a day to relux, to get our spiritual bearings under the clear, open skies of eternity. This is why the Christmases past, present and future converge on this holy night.

For those unfamiliar with the structure of sacred time, the result may become a jumble and a nightmare: Psychologists say that Christmas is a time when childhood trauma resurfaces, causing many crises and a modest number of actual deaths each year. That was not how it was meant to be. Christmas was made for man, not man for Christmas. Read the instruction manual before applying high voltage to your holiday, please.

2 thoughts on “Sacred time & holy night

  1. Hi llama! I would not call it a sin as such. Several saints had experiences where they left their bodies, but of course they would do so impelled by God, angels or earlier saints who visited them.

    The problem with astral projection is that you first enter the “fourth dimension” or what Christianity calls the “air”, the astral dimension in which lesser spirits abide. These can be threatening, misleading or just plain ignorant, so are not really good company if you run into them. People who have become synchronized with the higher dimensions above this “air” layer can quickly pass through it to a clear and light-filled higher place, but the light there would blind the less enlightened souls and they would be forced to remain in the “air” realm, a mixture of reality and illusion.

    So basically it is not something we encourage for the casual spiritual practitioner, but I am hard pressed to call it a sin in itself.

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