The Basic Practice

Reverence is the way of radical respect. It recognizes and honors the presence of the sacred in everything — our bodies, other people, animals, plants, rocks, the earth, and the waters. It is even an appropriate attitude to bring to our things, since they are the co-creations of humans and the Creator.

Nothing is too trivial or second class for reverence. But it has to be demonstrated with concrete actions. Don't abuse your body — eat right, exercise, get enough rest. Don't abuse the earth by being wasteful of its gifts. Protect the environment for your neighbors and future generations.

Reverence is also a kind of radical amazement, a deep feeling tinged with both mystery and wonder. Approaching the world with reverence, we are likely to experience its sister — awe. Allow yourself to be moved beyond words.

Why This Practice May Be For You

There is one unmistakable message in the spiritual practice of reverence: because everything is touched by the sacred, everything has worth. This practice, then, builds self-esteem.

Its opposite is irreverence, the "dissing" of the Creation. Examples aren't hard to come by: pollution, wasteful consumption, cruelty to animals, exploitation of forests, overuse of the land. On a personal level, irreverence may manifest as ennui, a kind of world-weariness. Or it may take the form of a defiant disregard for the feelings of others and a reckless, devil-may-care, use of resources.

Daily Cue, Reminder, Vow, Blessing

  • Passing by a grand tree is my cue to practice reverence.
  • Seeing the respect given to great spiritual leaders reminds me to reverence the holiness of human beings.
  • When I meet people who don't care about animals and nature, I vow to balance their indifference with my commitment.
  • Blessed is the Friend of the World who is pleased when we practice reverence toward people, places, animals, and things.