Caring Lesson 9. Recognizing Sacred Passages
Summary of skill
- Recognition is a coming into focus, that sensation of “Yes, I am familiar with this, I know this energy, I am oriented now to where I am and who is around me” and “Ah-hah, this is what is happening”
- Recognition of a sacred passage is a deeper level of perception and recognition than recognition of a soul
- Energy level: Recognition of a sacred passage, soul to soul, goes beyond a theoretical or abstract level of understanding; it involves a sensation of deep resonance with the person before you, and it opens a space of connection, compassion, hospitality, and immediacy that helps build trust and helps prepare the way for your pastoral care; your awareness acts as an illuminating force, opening flow for the soul to move into the next stage of life’s journey
- Discussion: Sacred passages are moments/episodes when people experience a transformative shift in energy that is important for their spiritual path.Sometimes the passages are public and involves family and community, events such as a wedding or a funeral. Sometimes these passages are navigated in isolation, privately, without the support and/or recognition of family, friends, or community. Sometimes, the person(s) are “swallowed” up in what is happening and may need support.
As a pastoral caregiver, you may be able to perceive the perfection and beauty of this passage for this person’s, family’s, or community’s path. You may receive psychic, subtle, causal, and/or nondual energy information about the situation which is not readily obvious from “ordinary” states of consciousness. You may observe the situation from an “eagle’s eye view” and also from your perspective “on the ground” in your position as a heart-based, nonjudgmental, discerning, inclusive, and celebratory pastoral care provider.
Your recognition and support of the events as a sacred passage may give comfort and perspective to the celebrant(s) in ways you cannot fathom. Your witness and confirmation of the order of their process is the “how” of attending a sacred passage. This is not achieved through platitudes, but by being as fully present with them as you can be in their passage, using your Partnering for Spiritual Growth & Service skills in combination with your Caring for Souls perspectives. You speak with care, discretion, and compassion. You are not responsible for “delivering the baby”—you are “attending the birth.”
- Partner exercise: Tell a personal story of recognizing a sacred passage. Client presents, and facilitator practices Active Compassionate Listening. Switch roles. Write up your session as a client and write up your session as facilitator using the Practicum form (you can download the form using the link below).
Resources for reflection & discussion
- Stephen Mitchell, trans. Tao Te Ching, poem #15