Day 14 – Today was a day of rest for me. After a long, active week I took today to rest and stay in bed. And while it would’ve been easy to pass up on my meditation time, I didn’t consider that as an option for even a moment.
Today I read the Discourse on Taking Refuge in Oneself. Here’s a passage taken from it (the words spoken are that of the buddha):
“All phenomena that are born, exist, and are subject to the influence of other phenomena, in other words, all phenomena that are composite, must abide by the law of impermanence and eventually cease to exist. They cannot exist eternally, without some day being destroyed. Everything we cherish and hold dear today, we will have to let go of and be separated from in the future. In not too long a time, I will also pass away. Therefore, I urge you to practice being an island unto yourself, knowing how to take refuge in yourself, and not taking refuge in anyone or anything else.
“Practice taking refuge in the island of the Dharma. Know how to take refuge in the Dharma, and do not take refuge in any other island or person. Meditate on the body in the body, nourishing Right Understanding and mindfulness to master and transform your cravings and anxieties. Observe the elements outside the body in the elements outside the body, nourishing Right Understanding and mindfulness to master and transform your cravings and anxieties. That is the way to take refuge in the island of self, to return to yourself in order to take refuge in the Dharma, and not to take refuge in any other island or thing.”
It is easy to take refuge in something or someone outside of ourselves. To hang out happiness onto someone’s behavior or certain conditions or the weather. One of the largest teachings I’ve been given through this practice is learning that the state of my relationship to my own health and well being is a choice I make (whether consciously or unconsciously). And it’s something I continue to work on everyday. Some days are easier than others. There is a great responsibility and a great freedom that come along with knowing that my life is up to me and no one else.