True Refuge - Finding peace and freedom in your own awaken heart


How much do I want to read more? 8/10

That book seems much deeper than the "Radical acceptance" book.
To find refuge in one's own heart and soul, where no external event or emotions can affect us.


I wish I could show you
When you are lonely or in darkness,
The astonishing light
Of your own Being!

—- HAFIZ (as translated by Daniel Ladinsky)

Prologue - “Loving Life No Matter What”

This book came out of my own search for a place of peace, connectedness, and inner freedom, even in the face of life’s greatest challenges. I call this place “true refuge” because it does not depend on anything outside ourselves—a certain situation, a person, a cure, even a particular mood or emotion. The yearning for such refuge is universal. It is what lies beneath all our wants and fears. We long to know we can handle what’s coming. We want to trust ourselves, to trust this life. We want to live from the fullness of who we are.

The word “dukkha” originally referred to a cart with a damaged wheel. When we are suffering, we are out of balance, jolting uncomfortably along the road of our life. We feel broken or “off,” disconnected from a sense of belonging.

In Radical Acceptance, I wrote about the deep and pervasive suffering of shame, the pain of believing that “something is wrong with me.”
Since that book was published, I’ve encountered major loss—the death of my father, the physical and mental decline of dear ones, and the challenges of my own chronic illness.

The Buddha taught that this experience of insecurity, isolation, and basic “wrongness” is unavoidable. We humans, he said, are conditioned to feel separate and at odds with our changing and out-of-control life. And from this core feeling unfolds the whole array of our disruptive emotions—fear, anger, shame, grief, jealousy—all of our limiting stories, and the reactive behaviors that add to our pain.

But the Buddha also offered a radical promise.
We can find true refuge within our own hearts and minds—right here, right now, in the midst of our moment-to-moment lives. We find true refuge whenever we recognize the silent space of awareness behind all our busy doing and striving.
We find refuge whenever our hearts open with tenderness and love. We find refuge whenever we connect with the innate clarity and intelligence of our true nature.

In True Refuge, I use the word “presence” to try to capture the immediacy and aliveness of this intrinsic awareness. Presence is hard to describe, because it’s an embodied experience, not a concept. For me, when I sense the silent, inner wakefulness that is here, I come home to a sense of wholeness. I’m at home in my body and heart, at home in the earth and with all beings. Presence creates a boundless sanctuary where there’s room for everything in my life—even the illness that keeps me from surfing the waves.

This book is filled with stories of people discovering presence in the midst of crisis and confusion.
I hope some of these stories connect to the heart of your own situation.

Part I - Our Search for Refuge

Chapter 1 - Winds of Homecoming