We all need a place to turn.. a refuge.. a place that offers unconditional understanding and love and peace.. something that helps put us back together and makes us feel whole and worthy and gives us the spark to carry on.
In the beginning, many of us seek a place just to rest a moment, to pause and numb out from the torments that are simply part of this existence.
Even though we long for more, some of us get stuck here and don’t make it further…but some keep going—seeking the place that’s a true and permanent refuge.
Our refuges look different.. some find it in the church or with a circle of noble friends, some find it with their parents and family.. some find it on a therapists couch or in a 12-step meeting, many find it in the Bible or the ancient wisdom scriptures and some seem to never have lost it in the first place and just walk thru the world centered, present and whole.
Some get stuck in drugs and substance that does a great job at mimicking refuge.. but leaves us longing and hungry for truth and authentic refuge more than ever.
Many of us have trudged thru most of these things and as we get older, the search is exhausting and we start to set some aspirations down and stop striving so hard.
We begin to find acceptance in our reality and the seeking of refuge has garnered us the wisdom to love the rougher edges of ourselves.
Clarity begins to show up and a few of the many paths we walked start to resonate at a deeper level… a focus, a set of teachings, a philosophy that we just decide works well enough for us.. a few key tools that really feel right begin to shape and build our refuge, they light the path that’s unique to only us.
I’ve never found refuge in other people for very long—my monk friend reminds me constantly to trust the teaching, never the teacher.
Refuge and clarity, the things that bring me peace and strength—they always are delivered to me thru the Dhamma. When I deeply remember the principles of the Dhamma, my life works better and I find refuge inside myself as the deepest parts of me quite down and find peace and joy.
Buddhists often believe they will attain the greatest peace and happiness through the practice of the Dhamma and believe each person is fully responsible to find their own truth within it.
Although Buddhists love to own this word Dhamma as their own, I think it’s as universal as breathing.
Buddha taught the Dhamma.
Jesus taught the Dhamma.
Mohommad taught the Dhamma.
Perhaps we all do.
Dhamma is simply the truth. It’s the breath and guidance of those before us guiding our way by lighting a path that feels most right to each of us.
When Martin Luther King spoke of equality, it’s undeniable that he was teaching the Dhamma. When Nelson Mandela taught forgiveness and unconditional love, he was teaching the Dhamma.
My friend once sent me a quote that I taped to my keyboard so that it would be impossible for me to not see and read and ponder and practice every single day:
This has become absolute truth for me and I can insert this single word, Dhamma, into any sentence and it holds true.
Dhamma is to cultivate the knowledge and practice of laws and principles that hold together the fabric of reality, natural phenomena and personality of human beings in dynamic interdependence and harmony.
Dhamma is ‘the path of righteousness’, the way of ‘correct’, ‘appropriate’, ‘decent’, or ‘proper’ behavior.
Dhamma Involves leading a life of moral uprightness abstaining from unwholesome behaviors and engaging in wholesome ones. Such a lifestyle as well as keeping a person out of harm’s way brings about over time a purification of any taints brought about by unskillful past activities.
Dhamma is a path of self-imposed discipline.
Dhamma is practicing nobility and kindness at all costs.
As an analogy, no one can simply make another know how to swim. Each person individually has to learn how to swim. In the same way, dhamma cannot be transferred or bestowed upon someone.
Dhamma is simply the wisdom of the ages, passed on to the people of tomorrow to do good and help the world.
Everyone has to find and know the Dhamma that’s just for them.
Your Dhamma isn’t mine and mine isn’t yours.
I find my refuge in the Dhamma.. meaning, I find refuge in kindness, nobility, service to others, unattaching to things and embracing change and unconditional love at every turn. I find my refuge in reality.. by embracing the wisdom of people before me and allowing them to remind me how to walk this path with significance and meaning.
I find my refuge within myself now. No way out but in.
curious for more?