Taking Refuge

Plum Village
Photo by Elisabeth Seland

What does it mean to take refuge In the buddha, the dharma, and the sangha?  In a storm, when the winds are wailing and spinning gray full clouds pouring a hard cursed rain, our natural instinct is to seek shelter, to get out of the weather for dryness and safety.  It is the same for taking refuge in the practice of love and understanding.  The buddha is our inherent wisdom, the dharma is the practice of joy and the sangha is our extended self.  To take refuge in them is also to take refuge in ourselves.

I’m in a strong life current where holding on for dear life has become how I make it through the day.  Sometimes all I can do is keep breathing, focusing on the strong inhale of emotion, the exhale of not being swept down river, if only in this very moment of time.  I take refuge in music, in sunshine, in my breath and I keep holding on to the practice of how working with challenges doesn’t mean to forget or diminish our own suffering but to not forget all of the good stuff too.

Inspired by Bob Dylan’s song Shelter from the Storm:

I was wrapped up in anguish struggling to stay afloat

The Buddha within called to me sweetly like the shore to a boat astray

Worn out to my fingertips, entangled and forlorn

“Come in” he said “I’ll give you, shelter from the storm.”

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