Sanctuary exists in the mind. It is a state where we can find our center, a place where we can experience clarity and inner strength. Sanctuary can exist in external spaces as well as internal spaces because the mind is capable of attaching meaning, feeling and emotion to anything. The ultimate sanctuary will always be a mind that is free, but understanding where and who we are right now, and the environment that would best support development of the inner state of freedom, is the essence of wisdom.
For centuries monks, ascetics, mystics and shamans have recognized the power in developing their mind through the use of external sanctuaries. These places develop a consciousness of their own that supports the internal structures which are being created. Whether we find sanctuary in homes, forest walks, yoga studios, monasteries, work places or caves, the power exists in the internal state that these places aid us in realizing.
We come back stronger, wiser, refreshed and revived – more in tune with our purpose.
An effective sanctuary must be appropriate to our goals. It must reflect our mind state and desires. If our goal is to rest and revive the spirit then our sanctuary must aid in creating that state. If the goal is to inspire then a sanctuary must aid in realizing this state.
The opportunity exists here to realize an internal state which is congruent with the state we find in our external sanctuaries. Through observation we can listen to the changes which occur when we move from a location of peace to a location of hustle and bustle. Through conscious awareness we can learn to allow the external personality and body to do what it needs to do. Perhaps we have busy jobs and need to be on the go, perhaps our lives requires analytical thought or creation within a high stress environment. There is a necessity in allowing our minds to take the shape of these processes in order to do what needs to be done – but through developing a connection to the real meaning of sanctuary we realize that no matter how stressful life becomes, no matter how much intense interaction we engage in, no matter the ups and downs – that a place always exists where lives the true essence of sanctuary. It exists regardless of all the chaos around it. Even if that chaos be something that we are perpetuating within our own minds. This is the reality of experiencing an infinite mind. It is a mind that is capable of chaos and struggle but also in that exact same instant pure and deep inner peace. No matter how many times the mind is “split” or made to take different forms and “shapes” we realize that it is still infinite. The seemingly finite part only exists because we believe that we are less that what we truly are. Infinite exists in realizing that we are always more.
A certain level of skill is developed in practicing sanctuary and centeredness in a place of advantage. This may be a place of peace, quiet and tranquility, or a place that inspires clarity. A different level of flexibility is developed however when we bring our practice to places that we perceive as chaotic, noisy and intense. Yet another level is developed when we bring our practice to mind states that we perceive as emotionally chaotic, noisy and intense. A flexible mind is a mind that is able to actually experience different states. It has the freedom to choose. Through finding peace within the most intense fits of anger we see through the illusion. That is, we realize that peace exists regardless of anger. We first need to trust that it exists and then we need to listen for it. We just need to actually practice finding it. This reality cannot be realized if we wait until we are calm until finding peace. It’s a different reality – it simply shows us that peace exists when we are calm. This is in itself is a very valuable state, but it requires a condition that we be calm before acquiring peace.
Listen for love within a mind that feels hatred, forgiveness within a mind that writhes with jealousy, peace within a mind that screams with anger, compassion within a mind that churns with confusion. The mind that can see more than what a particular energy or emotion would trick it into being, is a mind that is free, flexible and powerful. Shifting into this way of seeing we can begin to realize and actually experience love which actually is unconditional – whether we are full of hate or full of joy. We can begin to understand inner peace which actually is eternal – whether we are angry or full of jealousy. All our programs and attachments are shaken up because they live through the experience of actually feeling and seeing infinite states made real. This is deep power and it is a state that everyone is capable of realizing today. Even if the connection to an infinite mind appears to be the merest thread of the beginning of imagination, stay with it – it is the thread which will eventually lift up the veil over our eyes.
There are no chosen ones because we are all chosen. Empowerment does not come only for those that are joyous, calm and happy. It exists for us all unconditionally. Even if we be in the deepest of despair, wracked by guilt, shame, doubt or grief the opportunity to connect to more exists. “More” opens up again and again, moving towards the essence of infinite mind, the reality of which leads to freedom of choices. Some of these choices are unconditional love, inner peace and empowerment, which takes us full circle, because each of those states is a real and true experience of sanctuary.
All journeys start with a step. That step may be in the form of a thought and intention. Allow that thought to be in the form of finding your own inner center – your sanctuary. Once activated this sanctuary is a true and eternal friend.