“When our life is falling apart in some way, we want to feel some sense of being held by something larger. We’re all looking for refuge in some way.
Because we have this very primal conditioning to grasp on to things and to push things away, we tend to latch on to what I call false refuge, which is a way of finding comfort or protection or ease that is temporary because it just doesn’t deliver in the long run.
Trying to prove ourselves to other people, trying to get approval, having to be right–those are false refuges. All the ways that we over consume, whether it’s over consuming food or drugs or alcohol, it’s just filling ourselves. Those are false refuge. Blaming or judging ourselves or others is a false refuge…
The first gateway to true refuge really is, when it feels painful, when there is fear, when there is hurt, when there is loss, to learn to stay. To learn to stay means to step out of all the circling thoughts and enter with integrity into the embodied experience – to the squeeze in the heart and the heat in the body or the feeling of tightness or ache or whatever it is, just to stay.
I found over and over again that in the moments that I would choose to stay in that presence, I found a space and tenderness that shifted my whole sense of who I was. Every time I stayed with something difficult, I shifted from being kind of the victim or the oppressed one that was struggling with all the loss, to this space of loving presence that felt like home.
There is this deep and timeless presence that can be with the different losses and so on.
I call that the first gateway to true refuge because there is no way to make peace with our lives other than staying with what’s here.”
Tara Brach a meditation teacher, a pyschotherapist, and a wise teacher whose writing I have come to love. I especially love her latest work about how we seek false refuge – and about how we can come to rest in a refuge that is true.
Listen to our whole conversation below! We talk about false refuges (and which ones we both seek), how we can find true refuge in the midst of life’s difficulties, and much more.
Download as Mp3 Interview with Tara Brach