Down with Sacred Cows
This T-shirt comes from my book, How to Survive a Spiritual Hangover © 2007, Off the Page Press.
Each of us needs to become aware of the number of Sacred Cows that wander around without inhibition in our comfort zones. They are a primary reason why growth and change are so difficult to achieve.
First you have to recognize their presence, then take note of how you defer to them (worship them). Only then will you be prepared to restrain them. The shock of seeing the extent to which they hold you back should be the motivation you need to get free of them at last.
Warning: They keep wandering back if you are not vigilant. And don’t go replacing your familiar Sacred Cows with newer ones.
Sacred Cows Graze in Your Comfort Zone
In India sacred cows wander unimpeded through the streets. They serve as a reminder to respect the holiness of all living creatures. In Western culture, we too have our sacred cows. But they are not acknowledged or public. Ours are more private and personal. But they still roam unimpeded through our lives.
At some time in the past you’ve had sacred experiences, where you knew the divine had touched you personally and profoundly. There’s nothing finer! Such a transcendent flash temporarily removes you from your everyday mindset and reminds you that your spiritual awareness is intact. Those experiences deserve to be cherished and remembered fondly. But they don’t deserve to be worshipped.
While it occurred, you experienced a Now moment—out of linear time and normal limitations. That was an integral part of its impact on you. But you’re no longer in that altered state. It has been consigned to memory—a memory that gets special treatment. Remembering the awe of it resembles a trophy that’s proudly displayed on the mantle. You fondle it during moments of despair and meditation.
There’s a temptation to build a monument to authentic encounters with the divine. And like any symbolic structure, it’s no longer free to change and grow. You cast it in concrete (or marble). Your infinite God experience is now reduced to bronzed baby shoes, rather than the bona fide event.
Those symbols become your personal “sacred cows.” They tie you to the past (which is locked in time), as you try to sustain something that has already passed. Being too attached to such authentic-at-the-time experiences prevents a person from growing beyond them—as though they could be desecrated by anything that could happen later.
“Sacred cows” are mere symbols of an authentic experience. It’s a false idol posing as “your best stuff.” You’re not being unfaithful to the original experience by stepping back from it. Many more divine experiences (Now moments) are to be had all the time. Look around for more and stay open to them.
Resistance you feel about big T truth might indicate the presence of a “sacred cow.” The “sacred cow” might indeed be true, but it’s a lesser truth which keeps you from recognizing a greater one.
Once you name some of your “sacred cows,” you remove an inhibiting attachment to the past. That creates a vacuum wherein your awareness is permitted to grow.
Truth and God are already bigger than humans can grasp. To discover the truly profound and unfathomable, you must be ready to release the ways whereby you’ve held them captive.[end of section]