Practice of the Week
I take refuge in the Buddha, the one who shows me the way in life.
I take refuge in the Dharma, the path of understanding and love.
I take refuge in the Sangha, the community that lives in harmony and awareness.
-The Three Refuges (Buddhism)
Adapted from Rick Hanson, Just One Thing
Less formally, we all need everyday refuges from challenges, sorrows, and the occasional sheer craziness of the world. Otherwise, you get too exposed to the cold winds of life, and too drained by the daily round. Without refuge, after awhile you can feel like you're running on empty.
Refuges include people, places, memories, and ideas -- anyone or anything that provides reliable sanctuary and protection, that's reassuring, comforting, and supportive, so you can let down your guard and gather strength and wisdom.
A refuge could be:
- curling up in bed with a good book,
- having a meal with friends,
- making a To Do list to organize your day,
- remembering your grandmother,
- feeling strength in your body,
- trusting the findings of science,
- talking with a trusted friend or counselor,
- having faith, or
- reminding yourself that although you're not rich, you're financially okay.
- sacred settings,
- objects, and
What gives you a sense of refuge?
Make a written or mental list of at least a few things that are refuges for you. And if you can, take a moment each day to consciously take refuge in those things. You can "take refuge" in several ways:
- Go to a refuge
- Come from a refuge
- Abide as a refuge
- Sense a refuge at work in your life
You can take refuge explicitly, with words, by saying things in your mind like:
- I take refuge in __________. Or
- I abide as __________. Or
- __________ flows through me.
Then repeat your way of taking refuge for each of your refuges. Try to do this every day, as soon as you remember to do so. It only takes a few minutes or less. And you can even do it in the middle of traffic or a meeting.
Once you have finished taking refuge, sense the good feelings and thoughts sinking deeply into you, filling you up, and weaving themselves into your being -- a resource and inner light that you'll take with you wherever you go.
- How would you fill in each of the following blanks? "I take refuge in _________." "I abide as __________." "_________ flows through me." Record how various terms in the blanks feel for you.
- Write about events in the last couple days when it was (or might have been) particularly helpful to take a moment for taking refuge.
* * *
For list of all weekly practices: "Spiritual Practice Directory"