The dictionary definition of the word sacred is “pertaining to or connected to religion.” In my opinion, this is too narrow a definition. One can attune to the sacred without the help or hindrance of formal religion because the sacred or divine is the ground of our being as humans. It is that part of us that connects to the beyond, the part of us that experiences mystery and a sense of “greater than” within our everyday reality.
The Irish Dominican writer and artist, Donagh O’Shea emphasizes this when he says that spirituality (the opening to the Sacred) is like poetry in that it needs a context. The context is the life experience of every man and woman. Without this grounded context of life experience, spirituality becomes clerical property once again. O’Shea describes the Sacred as the gap through which we suddenly glimpse the Divine. It is the momentary flash of transcendence indwelling in the very stuff of our lives and glimpsed suddenly before it quickly vanishes. But the memory remains and remembering we learn to endure and find meaning.
We have all had these brief experiences but sometimes the toils and troubles of life pull us into darkness and lack of hope. We forget the magic of the gap, the wonder of small epiphanies. The more we pay attention to these opening moments, the the bigger the gap becomes until finally there is no longer any separation between what we regard as sacred or secular for all life is one.