where the writers are
My Writing Pilgrimage Day 2: More on Finding the Sacred in Ordinary Places

Four weeks ago, I started a writing pilgrimage, which I am sharing day by day on my blog, Writing as a Sacred Path (writingasasacredpath.blogspot.com). Here is my second post from that journey. If you're interested, please join me at the Writing as a Sacred Path Blog.

I spent the day thinking about a favorite topic of mine: How we can find the Sacred in ordinary places. Not just in great cathedrals and redwood forests, but in classrooms and post offices and supermarkets. How ordinary objects and everyday experiences can be sources of inspiration and meaning. 

I've known all along that finding the Sacred in the ordinary will be an essential part of my writing pilgrimage over the next year, and I knew I wanted to write about it today. What I didn't know is what I wanted to say about it.

And then, into my lap, fell this section of Gitanjali (Song Offerings) by Nobel-prize winning Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore. It came by way of some of my wonderful students, who did a presentation on India this afternoon. And I realized immediately that Tagore had already said what I wanted to say, only more powerfully and beautifully than I could ever say it. Here is a lovely video of his poem. And here are his words:

Leave this chanting and singing and telling of beads! Whom dost thou worship in this lonely dark corner of a temple with doors all shut? Open thine eyes and see thy God is not before thee! 

He is there where the tiller is tilling the hard ground and where the pathmaker is breaking stones. He is with them in sun and in shower, and his garment is covered with dust. Put off thy holy mantle and even like him come down on the dusty soil! 

Deliverance? Where is this deliverance to be found? Our master himself has joyfully taken upon him the bonds of creation; he is bound with us all for ever. 

Come out of thy meditations and leave aside thy flowers and incense! What harm is there if thy clothes become tattered and stained? Meet him and stand by him in toil and in sweat of thy brow.

Try this: Spend a moment with Tagore's poem. Then write about finding the Sacred in your own daily work.