I’m currently on holiday in Germany, but the weather is lousy, there’s a severe weather warning in place which means that it’s not really good for walking in the hills of the Schwarzwald, which is what I was intending to do. So I have been visiting the local churches, admiring their art and so on.
They have a very meditative energy, i like to sit quietly in the pews and soak up the feeling. I remember reading somewhere that the early Christians used to put their Churches on the holy sites of the old pagan religions, so who knows how long mankind has been worshipping in these places. The churches go back a thousand years or more.
the energy of a holy place comes not from the place but from those who make it holy by/in their presence. By itself, it is just a physical structure or place. I have walked through a place known as sacred and found it beautiful but not full of active energy.
However, upon visiting the same site fore a religious activity, it "hummed" with energy passing through and upon all present.
the energy comes from and returns to each person. Thus, energy of any site, any object of veneration, only arises from the persons each to return to the persons each.
Peace to All
I've felt that too visiting some monasteries both in India and to some extent here in the US. Being able to spend time there almost feels like a cheat code for spiritual practice, a kind of learning by osmosis.
It goes further … objects, relics for example can have a presence if we are sensitive to it … and even if not.
The idea of osmosis, energy fields, sacred space etc can with time expand …
And now back to the time and place …
Certainly Osho’s sannyasins used to think so. I remember there was all kinds of reverence for little sandalwood boxes which contained relics of Osho, which were said to have his presence.
as a vajrayana heretic it is my 'duty' to venerate the disholy, the unholy can stay in the hell-lands
Hell is not punishment,
Look for Buddha outside your own mind,
and Buddha becomes the devil.
...and the energy of an 'unholy' place....
It's also interesting when one visits a place/area and for no particular reason one starts to feel uncomfortable...getting bad vibes so to speak....then you find out that in the past atrocities have taken place there ...
The times I've gone, I go with some plan. I intend to experience the place. I go open to it. So when the environment to cultivate that experience is found there, I can indulge in the pleasant sensations with some emotional gravitas.
Reflecting on when I was younger and passed up such opportunities for gameboy, I was not open to it, by choice or unawareness. I was open to gameboy. So the emotional experience was of playing gameboy instead. Like a dog who chews on a bone and misses the sunset. I imagine A wise one neither weighs value of, nor takes pleasure in either. As the sun will set and the bone will wear away; the game will be beat or batteries die and equally it will be time to leave such a place for one perceived less holy. So instead, take what the holy place has shown you. Take that with you. That emotional weight of peace, calm, and tranquility and pleasant sensations and take them with you. As a kid I always used to think there could be secret treasure buried in strange places. Sometimes I think there is and I'm getting away with it when I have an opportunity to call forth that which can be taken from holy places.
It really comes from within anyway, doesn't it? They're like megaphones of spirituality or a roadmap reminding us but I mean...we make the feeling don't we? So can't we just always make it?
Beautifully said @FleaMarket be interested in your and others answers to your questions.
If you’re sensitive to it, a quiet morning can feel holy. Some people have this with Sundays, but haven’t you ever had the feeling that another day of the week feels like a Sunday? I bet you have.
But that’s not the same as manufacturing the feeling. Internal conditions vary just like external conditions, it’s like the weather. Sometimes the sky feels like raining, and sometimes it is sunny. Sometimes it is crisp and clear and fresh and you can see for miles, and sometimes it is foggy and shrouded.
I was more asking because I don't really know. I have my own assumptions and experiences and would likely answer in one of two ways depending on whether I saw it as a hindrance of sense desire or a welcomed state worth cultivating.
Let me put it like this for now:
We are a figment of our own imagination …
I have felt this too. Iona Abbey was a remarkable case. It was only later that I found that I had ancestors buried nearby. So of course I had to go back the next year.
Both a figment and the imagination that created the figment? Sculpting the very story in which we play a character? Sounds like messy mind-making. So then what? Stop being the figment? Stop imagining? Is this what is meant by setting down the burden?
Why do you imagine you can not answer your own questions?
Good question... Attachments mainly. Clinging to self doubt primarily, along with desire to be pointed in the right direction. Fear of answering my own questions incorrectly and desire to be understood. In short, I imagine it because I have not yet perfected the way to cessation. Points revealed by reflecting on your question and gives me something to work on.
There was a time I scoffed at the idea that a structured setting could be more holy than say, a forest. Then I took into account the action that goes into such a place. The artwork, the concentration, the heart that makes the effort. There is a lot to be said about grace but knowing those before us set their minds to create works intended to bring us closer to the divine spark within us all is unsurprisingly moving.
I feel nature is sacred in particular to Wicca and other Pagans, Jains and many Aboriginal, Native, First Nation peoples etc.
In a different way that @David mentions, we can be attuned through building environment or focussed company.
Eventually we become the energy/'sacred' … I can hardly wait … maybe I'll just start …
Ultimately i feel the most drawn to settings like Stonehenge or Gobekli Tepe. These are places that combined the natural with man-made elements, something made by human hands to mark the place feels appropriate.
The amount of weight and effort put into constructing certain places does indeed leave a mark. It has the elements of what Human emotions, inspiration, even greed or delusion that got settled upon at some point in time. Then the flow of people, work, worship. That leaves dent in reality. It is hard to measure, but I can understand it.
You can get the a similar effect when visiting a forest or a mountain's peak, but "holy places" as in constructed or manipulated by man do have their own taste and they differ. But just like black tea, green tea or oolong tea are different, they are also all tea at the end of the day. Just a different taste in that moment, if you permit me this analogy.