We all take refuge in something. Too often this refuge is hedonic and materialistic. The engaged Christian spiritual practitioner takes refuge in something far more powerful. There are three refuge sources: 1) the living Jesus as the supreme Teacher, this very Christ presence (Christos) at the human heart; 2) the Teaching of the Christ contained in the New Testament scriptures, and in the gnostic Gospel of Thomas; 3) the Church, the spiritual community that includes us, the apostles, the early gnostic masters, and the holy saints.
These three refuge sources are like three precious gems. Each gem has three levels of meaning or understanding: 1) an outer, exoteric, objective meaning (prayer, scripture study, belief); 2) an inner, esoteric, subjective meaning (mindfulness meditation or deep prayer); and 3) an ultimate, innermost esoteric or nondual meaning (trans-conceptual subject-object, matter-spirit unity). These three dimensions of meaning are in no way separate. Indeed, they are a prior and always present knowing, feeling heart-mind unity.
Taking refuge in the three gems—the very body, voice and mind of the Christ—taps the inner peace and fearless wisdom energy that nourishes, holds and protects the engaged practitioner on this difficult path. Taking refuge stabilizes our understanding which motivates the courage and commitment to this path that the master has asked each one of us to engage. Such an understanding is called The View. A penetrating understanding of The View, with the engaged practice of The Path yields The Result that is the great peace of liberation from human suffering. Such primordial wisdom is ultimate happiness itself (beatitudo, paramananda), naturally expressed as love—kind, compassionate action.
Such happiness lies not in the future. We cannot become happy later; we can only be happy now. The past is gone. The future has not yet arisen. Therefore, our goal cannot be some future happiness state. Our goal is this loving-kindness practice of The Path, this very moment now. Thus do we “make the goal the path”. Thus do we awaken now—step by step—to our already present innermost secret Christ nature, that luminous presence within each human form. It arises upon the breath. Practice being present to the breath. Now is the time to enter in to it. “Awaken thou that sleepeth, and Christ shall shine upon thee”. “That which you seek is already present…” “The kingdom of heaven is within you”.
Our happy, selfless indwelling Christ nature—Christos, that presence always present—already knows this great inner truth. So we enter in this wisdom awareness, this mind-stream of the Christ, with each breath. That is after all, who we actually are, our “supreme identity”, without a single exception. In that we take refuge. It’s like coming home.
David Paul Boaz Dechen Wangdu www.coppermount.org www.davidpaulboaz.org 11.16