Resting in Inner Refuge  

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Written by Kelly Lindsey
Photo Credit Marissa Knox

Refuge is one of the most important elements of Buddhist practice and the entire  spiritual journey is encompassed within the expression of taking refuge. Inner Refuge  is a conscious turning toward wakefulness and aligning with our own Buddha Nature.  This is a place we can rest our weary hearts and minds and discover moments of  peace and ease amidst the suffering we experience and bear witness to in the world.  Refuge can also guide us to find clarity about how to engage the world with greater  compassion and understanding. 

The Three Jewels

On the Buddhist path, we come to rest in inner refuge by going for refuge to the Buddha, Dharma, Sangha, collectively known as the Three Jewels. Each of these precious jewels has an outer expression which leads us to discover the inner meaning  of refuge. 

The outer expression of Buddha is embodied by the historical Shakyamuni Buddha.  The Buddha’s life example lights the way for us. He was a human being, just like us,  and he used the practice of meditation to discover the true nature of reality. We can  do this too. The Buddha is an expression of awakening and points the way to our own  inherent wakefulness. Meditation is a sacred opportunity to come home to ourselves  and rest in our own true nature. This is inner refuge.  

The outer expression of the Dharma includes the wisdom teachings and practices  passed down through the Buddhist tradition. The Buddhist teachings act as a guide  that help us to realize our true nature. This realization is the inner meaning of the  Dharma. To take refuge in the Dharma means to commit ourselves to bringing the  teachings into our own lives and realizing them directly through our own experience.  To hear the teachings, to contemplate them, and to understand their unique meaning  for us is how we realize the Dharma, and how we come to rest in inner refuge.  

The outer expression of Sangha includes all those who have taken refuge and  committed themselves to the path of awakening. We take refuge in the Sangha when  we honor our companions on the path. As practitioners, we both offer and receive  support from each other. When we go for refuge to the Sangha, we surrender into the  openness of present moment connection and discover a softening toward ourselves  and a gentleness toward others. This expression of inner refuge brings the  confidence we need to engage with the world skillfully and compassionately. 

Retreat is a wonderful opportunity to deepen our relationship with the Three Jewels

Retreat is a wonderful opportunity to deepen our relationship with the Three Jewels. We practice going for refuge through meditation and contemplation, and ultimately  come to rest in our own inner refuge. 

Brooke Binstock, Marissa Knox and I will be offering our 5th annual Quiet Mind, Open  Heart retreat at Drala Mountain Center July 23-28, 2023. If the invitation to Rest in  Inner Refuge calls to you, we would love for you to join us for a spacious week of  meditation, contemplation, yoga, and bodywork, while being held in community.  Throughout the retreat you will be invited to return to your inner refuge and rest  deeply. We hope that you will leave this retreat feeling rested, resourced, and ready to  move through the world with greater clarity and compassion.

Join Kelly, Brooke and Marissa this July!

Kelly Lindsey is a mother, meditation teacher, and somatic psychotherapist.  Kelly’s meditative journey began more than twenty years ago and has included many different styles of practice and paths of study. Having received formal instruction in different lineages of Tibetan Buddhism and Classical Indian Yoga, Kelly has found a wonderful integration of deep practice and study realized in the context of everyday life. All of the spiritual teachings she has received have culminated in one primary lesson: how to live in the world with an open heart.

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