The Inner Refuge
"Your vision will become clear
only when you look into your heart.
Whoever looks outside, dreams.
Whoever looks inside, awakens."
If you've been awake the past 5 months, you are probably aware that humanity (that would include you), is going through some very difficult growing pains right now. Millions of people have lost their jobs, amid a global pandemic that has now taken the lives of over 140,000 people in the U.S. alone, while the Amazon Rainforests are burning down at a rate unparalleled in our history. We are divided from each other in a way that, wearing or not wearing a mask has now become a statement of your political values, instead of being a way to respect the health and welfare of your fellow humans. With uncertainty now the new norm, we can no longer project a future where everything has 'returned to normal' and we are once again living in a dream of security and stability. Though we may try to deny it, it can feel as though everything around us is unravelling.
Though everything I've so far written is apparent to anyone who is actually paying attention, the majority of people are still doing their best to pretend that, with a little more distraction and wishful thinking, we can easily turn this ship around and go in the 'right' direction. Yet we have been told for eons, by sages of every spiritual path, that the times we are moving through cannot be fixed by doing more of what got us here in the first place. It is not a matter of putting Humpty Dumpty back together again in a new and improved version, but it is about waking up to the simple fact that, nothing 'out there' is going to ever bring us the peace and contentment that we so long for, either individually or collectively.
As the structures we have built our sense of security on continue to crumble about us, we can continue to 'try' and rearrange out outer reality in a way that gives us a sense of security and purpose, yet this feeling will be ever more short-lived and unsatisfying, kind of like attempting to put your finger in a dam that has a thousand cracks. Be it climate change, economic meltdown or over-population; it all adds up to zero no matter how you slice it.
So how can we actually enjoy these times we are living through, and the wondrous gift of being alive? The answer of course was also given by those same spiritual teachers, who advised us to let go of trying to find happiness in the ever-changing-world, and instead, to turn within; to the sanctuary of our own inner refuge, where stillness, joy and bliss await us as surely as our next mindful breath. Only in the inner refuge, they remind us, can we find that which never changes; the pure open space of our own sky-like awareness, that is never touched by the outer turmoil of a world gone mad.
If we are honest, the time has never been more perfect than to find this out for ourselves. By turning within, for for as little as 20 minutes a day in meditation, we can begin to find rest in the surety, depth and stability of our own true nature, that which is One with God - with the Flow of the eternal Tao (for those who don't know how to meditate, go to the blog archives and read, A Peaceful Mind to get started). Given what you see around you, and more importantly, what you feel within you, what else are you going to do that will actually satisfy you as you move through the remaining time you have left on this earth? Only from a space of inner peace can we truly be of service to this world, and to those around us. And in the end, what - besides that - really matters right Now?