I am sure we all agree, especially after the last year plus, that we are not in control of everything that happens to us. As a result of the pandemic and all that came with it, I felt like I had to keep it together for everyone else. At first that was easy but as the year plus rolled on, I realized I needed more than my Yoga practice, good food and working in my garden to support me. This got me thinking and reflecting about the concept and idea of seeking refuge. The word ‘refuge’ is found in many Vedic chants, the Bible, as well as in Buddhist chants. According to its definition, refuge is a condition of being safe or sheltered. When I was feeling so vulnerable, overwhelmed and unprotected, the thought never occurred to me that I could give this away or turn it over.
Where do we seek refuge, in our home, our Sanga or our churches? Was that feeling of safety stripped away during the last year? Is it enough to say just breathe and let it go? These are some of the questions that have been swirling around my head for a while. Even in the midst of practice and good self-care, I totally missed I was not seeking refuge!
If you are having any of these thoughts or feelings, here is a suggestion to help you explore what refuge might be for you. If you could give your depression, anxiety or uncertainty away, where would it go? Although this is a universal concept spanning many years and ideologies, it is also highly individual and worth contemplating. Who or what would happily receive it?
I have found this missing piece for me. When I take refuge in my concept of God and I chant the very specific notion of seeking and being given refuge, I feel a lightness, a sense of truly being able to let go and relax. Knowing that I actually have someone or something that would take this from me, allowed me to feel protected and safe and my ability to let go, increased. This was a totally new revelation for me.
I hope you reflect and find the refuge you seek. May Yoga and Sanga support your journey and fill you with lightness and peace.