When Tom Eddington and I started Futureshapers several years ago, we built into all our gatherings (conference calls, retreats and meetings) a context-setting ritual we called creating “sacred space.” The incentive was to set a tone for a different kind of interaction, one that sanctified the time we had together distinguishing it from conventional meetings or calls.
We composed a reading that we asked someone to read aloud before we started any gathering, particularly in our peer groups or learning retreats, where members would gather for and enjoy this sacred space, this very different context for group interactions.
Here is text we composed:
Most of our daily interactions – especially meetings – are about tasks and projects where we may tend to engage each other solely through our intellects. It has become largely a default behavior unless there is explicit differentness.
Attending church, synagogue, mosque or temple, a poetry reading, a quiet walk in the woods, a silent retreat, or a symphony can all evoke a sacred context which in turn evokes an awareness that we are more than just mind and body.
Our experience can be maximized when we are engaged with one another in this sacred context – this explicit differentness. We are invited to bring our whole selves into our time together – body, mind, heart and soul. We give permission to one another to remind us whenever we may wander from this sacred context.
Our purpose here is to become increasingly conscious of how we operate in the world, our way of being in the world, the impact of each action, so we are more present to our actions, our words, our intentions, and our choices. This way we can apply our skills beyond the confines of one particular organization or project and know – that in so doing – we are bringing more light, joy, meaning, love, peace and service into the world.
We found it quite important that these four short paragraphs be read aloud every time we met, for whatever reason, even business meetings!
Every time we engaged in this ritual our time together was enriched and all the usual guardedness that permeates most day-to-day human interactions seemed to disappear. Participants were more vulnerable and open with one another which generated an atmosphere of safety and trust inviting others to mirror that vulnerability, making the space even more safe.