As I sit here on a beautiful Sunday morning, I think about the friends and family members who are heading off to church, temple and retreats. And it occurred to me that so many people, myself included, typically go somewhere else to find something. Sometimes for a little peace, sometimes forgiveness and salvation, sometimes just a connection to something greater than ourselves. And while I do not see harm in any of this, I do see a major flaw in the basic concept.
I think that at our core, we all just want to be happy. We want to be free of fear and dissatisfaction. The anxiety and insecurity of this life is always right in front of us, and certainly we are always aware of our impermanence and impending death. A death that deep down in side we know could come at any moment. So we go out in search of answers and seeking a place of safety and refuge. And in these churches, temples and retreat centers, we feel that we have found a tiny piece of this. But most would likely agree that once we return to our daily routine, this tranquility can quickly dissipate.
These “outside” places serve a wonderful purpose as a refueling station of sorts. But just like fueling our cars for a long trip, this does not prevent any of us from driving recklessly and possibly crashing as soon as we leave the station. And this is where I think that we tend to be chasing rainbows. The answers are not in any other location but right here within our own minds. Only taking a split second to become angered or resentful, the same split second can give rise to compassion and acceptance. Right here, right now on my couch, I am able to cultivate wholesome qualities and observe my own mind. As insecurity arises, I simply observe this and offer the option of gentle acceptance. I offer myself love, and inject gratitude. This is my church, my temple, my retreat. I carry it with me always and simply need to remind myself often of this beautiful truth.
My intentions each day are that each of you live in safety and peace. With these intentions always beginning by the greatest love and compassion for myself with a strong commitment to my own liberation. One that I will never find at the end of the rainbow, but right here within my own mind.
Mind precedes all knowables,
mind’s their chief, mind-made are they.
If with a corrupted mind
one should either speak or act
dukkha follows caused by that,
as does the wheel the ox’s hoof.