Seeking refuge, finding refuge,taking refuge have all been common experiences for people living on the western borders of the vast Pacific Ocean of late. There have been floods, cyclones, landslides, tsunamis, many earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and nuclear energy crises.
I have been considering where to go for refuge as these big disasters have happened and also as I work to meet the challenges that more everyday events bring. I read recently of a visualisation technique which I have found very helpful, especially if I am in bed or able to rest quietly. It is pretty simple and all I have to do is picture myself as a very small “me” wrapped around my heart, a place that is warm, kind and loving. Then the technique encourages me to feel the love, warmth and kindness wrapping itself around me and with that comes a feeling of safety, security and trust.
Another “place” of refuge for me and others is a more psychological one, using something in nature to focus on when we need some space or some respite from whatever is stirring us. For me I watch the birds around me, whether from a window or out in the fresh air or garden. A friend of mine watches the ducks that live in a nearby stream area. This form of refuge offers us time to switch our awareness and attention to something ordinary, familiar and non-threatening. There is comfort in that.