‘Tis The Season To Take Refuge

Each holiday season, as winter approaches, I often find myself drawn to reflect upon what supports us in staying centered within ourselves throughout this busy season. While the world swirls in gift purchases, holiday events and social plans, I often find myself longing to move inward vs. outward, to balance the busy with the quiet, to reflect upon and recommit to the values and intentions I choose to live from, this holiday season and beyond.

If it fits, I invite you to carve out some quiet space this week to explore what helps to center, nourish and support you throughout the holiday and winter season. In Buddhist terms, “What will you take refuge in?” Or, said another way, “What activities or practices help point you back to awareness, your own inner goodness, the way things actually are, the truth of interconnection?” Practices might include certain helpful views or personal mantras that you hold in your mind. Perhaps something like, “All things are of the nature to change… this, too, will change” or meditation teacher Sylvia Boorstein’s mantra, “May I meet this moment fully, may I meet it as a friend.” Our personal mantras, like the whisper of a quiet wind on a summer’s day, can be gentle, kind reminders to the mind to lean back into our refuge again and again.

Other practices and wholesome activities might include: exercise, talking with a kind friend, practicing generosity, enjoying time in nature, meditation, yoga, experiencing your body and sound as you sip a cup of tea, being mindful of your sense experiences while doing the dishes or preparing a meal, noticing the goodness in others, taking in the sound of the birds outside your office window, connecting with a spiritual community that supports your spiritual practice, gardening, taking a few deeper breaths each time you come to a stop light, etc.

If you currently have a refuge practice, you might explore whether it still fits or what deepens your commitment to it. What do you take refuge in now? If you don’t have a current refuge practice and would like to create one, you might explore what your intention is for this season. Your intention might even become the mantra you whisper to yourself: “Peace, peace, peace”, “Let” (on the in breath) “Go” (on the out breath), “Just” (on the in breath) “Here” (on the out breath), for example. What will you take refuge in?

May all beings know peace and their own inner goodness.
May all beings be well.