Seeking Refuge?



What To Do Amid Chaos and Conflict 

More and more clients are coming to me to find a port in the storm. If it’s not the overwhelming work environments that are increasingly common, it’s the growing clamors of the world and its people, or the rising levels of conflict.

Many seek escape, which certainly holds out a kind of promise, though invariably it will fail us. There is actually no escape from the world or even ourselves. Of course, escaping also often leads to addiction, which typically brings suffering. Then of course some retreat into pointless pining for long ago days before the volume of our world ratcheted upward, except there is no going back. We can fall prey to complaint and fault finding, which only increase our discontentedness.

From a psycho-spiritual point of view, we are trapped in and by reality. Our only choice is to engage, and at best, to embrace the challenges that invariably come to find us.

Assuming we decide to engage rather than seeking retreat, there is always the option to trudge or slog through; yet, there is little that will please us in that approach..

So what other choices are there?

Let me tell you a story.

Some years ago, I was on spiritual retreat in the Manzano Mountains of New Mexico. We were given an assignment by our teacher to walk out onto the land, and find a place to stay for the day. We were told to lay down a circle around us with sacred cord we’d been given and to which we added tiny, colorful Tibetan prayer twists. We could do anything in that small arc. We could nap, pace the circle, meditate, journal, or even complain. It only mattered that we stayed in the circle and stayed present.

At the end of the day, we debriefed while sitting in a circle at dusk back in the lodge and everyone had a story to tell.

Then Andy spoke. He was a bit of a rebel. And he’d chosen to wrap his sacred cord around his body, and then to walk all day long, encircled and embraced by his own, portable holy ground.

It is a brilliant metaphor for how to live - to walk in the world within sacred space no matter what comes our way. To go in assurance that we are secure.

I told that story to a good friend who knows the Tibetan way. He laughed with delight. Then he said, “So it is to take refuge in oneself.” To be the refuge we seek.

We talked about this idea. We agreed it takes awareness to navigate the world. Not protected by some bubble, but psychically secure, even if fully exposed.  

Seeing True™

Walking the world with awareness is our practice.

In the world, but not of the world.

Seeing True™ in Action 

There are any number of approaches we can use to practice awareness. Many of them involve mindfulness, or presencing, or paying attention. Regardless of what we may find that suits us, it will take practice.

However, the larger issue is making a commitment to ourselves that we are willing to be present to reality, to life, and to our lives. Are you willing?