Recently I was reading about the closing of a meditation center due to the sexual misconduct of one of the primary teachers. It was not the first of its kind in spiritual organizations including word wide churches, over centuries. This particular one hit me hard because this was a good organization that served 1000’s of people over a decade, and involved people who I know and love.
At the same time there were similar reports in the political arena. I found myself wondering, “It’s everywhere, where do we take refuge?” Shortly after this I went to teach in Brazil during their presidential election. There were protests in the Streets of Sao Paulo while I was there, motivated by part of the populations’ great concern with the leading candidates leaning towards the old dictatorship. This was the same week in the US when conflicted painful hearings around a Supreme Court candidate were taking place. Again the question, “where to go for true lasting refuge?”
Several answers came right away. One place; Go inside, go inside myself. What part of myself? Not my intellect or reason, but my heart and my body which lead to another refuge; connection. Connection with boundless good will, nature, and other beings that truly care, people whom I trust. Lastly I can take refuge in the present moment. The whole present moment. For example even during the protests in Sao Paulo, the trees continued to grow, the street musicians continued to play incredible music, my lungs continued to breathe in and out and my feet continued to touch the ground while I walked.
When we do take refuge, it’s not meant to take us away from the difficulties of life, but to give us stability so we may bring more clarity to them. Refuge provides a place where we may choose wise action, if any may be taken, for the things we care about. If you are having trouble accessing this, let us help; join us for our annual January Retreat or take a class or daylong with us or with a mindfulness teacher near where you live. Register Here