Sanctuary is wherever I find safe space to regain my bearings, reclaim my soul, heal my wounds, and return to the world as a wounded healer. It’s not merely about finding shelter from the storm: it’s about spiritual survival. Today, seeking sanctuary is no more optional for me than church attendance was as a child.
Sometimes I find it in churches, monasteries, and other sites designated as sacred.
But more often I find it in places sacred to my soul: in the natural world, in the company of a trustworthy friend, in solitary or shared silence, in the ambience of a good poem or good music.
Parker Palmer, Seeking Sanctuary in our own Sacred Places
Change the attitude and perspective that comes from the daily world of time and having some place to go, to one being more steady and collected in the here and now.
The time sense is important to be clear about. Notice how the future feels as a direct experience: when there’s something in the future, there’s tension. This could be either because of impatience to get to a desirable state or an achievement, or it could be worry or dread over what might go wrong. In either case you lose the open ease of being in the present. When you think of the future as a definite reality, you believe in the moods that are embedded in that sense, and in the ideas that they create. Worries start to solidify; flexibility and the capacity to deal with what arises begin to dwindle. But how real is ‘the future’? After all, we might be dead tomorrow! Isn’t it more the case that the present will unfold in line with causes and conditions ? So check the time sense; it’s caused by the moods and energies of the present. The visions and ideas are an illusion.
Take refuge in Awakening.
Direct awareness is only and always here and now; and conditions change around that sense
Despite the fact that advertisers want us to focus on the next big thing and that the stores already have Easter Eggs on their shelves, it is good to maintain the natural, more interior and quiet, rhythms of winter.
Just because someone has invented a clock
doesn’t mean you have to hurry through life.
Russell C. Means, Oglala Sioux American Indian activist
We like to live in our heads – our thinking minds – and we presume that this gives us the best information about the world, However, our refuge should be in moment-to-moment direct sensing of experience. We are patient, not rushing to interpret or make judgments as to how our life is going:
The instruction and teaching of the actual body is the harbour and the weir.
This is the most important thing in the world.
It is beyond explanation
We just accept it with respect and gratitude
Drink your tea slowly and reverently,
as if it as the axis on which the world revolves
Thich Nhat Hanh
Zen teaches that our approach to today determines our whole approach to life.
The Japanese call this attitude Ichi-nichi issho:
‘Each day is a lifetime.’
Philip Toshio Sudo, Zen 24/7
A similar theme, this time from the Christian tradition:
Nothing lasts. No single thing can consume our entire life’s meaning. No single thing can give us total satisfaction. Nothing is worth everything: neither past, nor present nor future. It isn’t true that the loss of any single thing will destroy us. Everything in life has some value and life is full of valuable things, things worth living for, things worth doing, things worth becoming, things worth loving again. It is only a matter of being detached enough from one thing to be open to everything else.
The essence of life is not to find the one thing that satisfies us but to realize that nothing can ever completely satisfy us.
Joan Chittister, After Great Pain: Finding a Way Out