I’ve written here and elsewhere about the practice of building altars. About how they are little (or not so little!) centers of attention. I’ve posted photos of what my personal working altar looked like. I’ve shared the experience of gathering things that are meaningful and arranging them in ways that are evocative.
This week, though, I’ve been considering the idea of House-as-Temple.
I work from home, so the environment of my house is feeling more and more important to me. My wife and I have also been doing some redecorating with art and seasonal mantle-altar creation over the last week. (More on the mantle to come!)
These ideas and practices together have been leading me more and more to think of our whole house as a temple, a temple of altars and sacred places.
How might you do such a thing? And why?
Well, if spirituality is a layer in the foundation of the Good Life, doesn’t it make sense to work on bringing spiritual attention and intention to each room in your house? It doesn’t mean getting a table for every room. It doesn’t mean putting together elaborate displays of anything.
For example, a plant stand is a great way to celebrate Earth and growth and the process of tending another life.
A Story People card or Quotable card framed and put near a door to remind you that, “The Most Important Thing is to be Happy,” for example, is a way to make going in and out a moment of attention.
The coin by your bedside that you turn over when waking and lying down—an ancient practice made new. “I think of you, O Lord, when I wake and in my lying down.”
Paintings, quotations, little corner tables, the tops of bookshelves…potentially every choice you make in how you put the colors, furniture, art, and other items together in your house….every choice is a chance to make a decision about what you want your temple to say.
What is your house a temple of?
What does your house have to say?
Let me be clear—these ideas are not about necessary tidiness or orderliness or ANY kind of moral judgment about how you put your house together. These images are about creativity, intention, and attention to the communication of your space.
Maybe look room by room. Maybe begin with your bedroom, a more private room where you may feel more comfortable arranging things to speak to you and your family without being so “out” in more public spaces in your home.
Where is the window relative to your bed? What art do you have? What do you see when you wake up in the morning?
I suppose, given my extremely limited understanding of Asian home practice, that ideas like these are versions of what motivates feng shui and other spiritual ordering of the home.
What can you think about today? What one thing can you put into place to improve your sense of the home-as-temple? What candle can you light? What plants can you gather? What cooking prayer can you say?
Blessings on your day and on your thoughts –
In other news, my upcoming class, Wise Choices for Hard Times, begins on the 15th of this month (January). I’d love to see you there. For more information and to sign up, check out this page. Questions? Contact me via this page.
Hope to “see” you there!