February 17
Within yourself is a stillness
and a sanctuary to which you can
retreat at any time and be yourself.

Herman Hesse


Today's Meditation:

Sanctuary--what a nice word that is.  A sanctuary is a place where we can rest, where we can escape the stress and strife of the world in which we live, where we can feel at ease and breathe deeply and relax.  And what Herman Hesse is saying is that we all have such a place within ourselves, accessible when we need it, wherever we happen to be, whatever we happen to be doing.

Have you ever felt what it's like to walk into a quiet, protected place where you feel completely safe, and where the peace of the place seems to enter into your very spirit?  That sort of peace is something that we can access at any time, but it takes an inward focus instead of an outward focus.  We need to take the time and make the effort to get in touch with ourselves, to respect ourselves, to love ourselves, rather than trying to find peace from outside of ourselves.

It doesn't take meditating for hours in the lotus position.  It doesn't take fasting or self-deprivation.  It doesn't take years and years of practice.  All it takes is a desire to go inside of yourself and find the place of stillness that can help you in many different situations.  It takes a bit of practice to find a place for yourself and in yourself in which you're protected from the many things in the world that may be tossing you about like a leaf in a storm.

And in that place, when you find it and every time you go there after you find it, you can be yourself.  You don't have to prove yourself to anyone else, you don't need to impress anyone else, you don't need to meet anyone else's expectations.  It certainly is a beautiful place to be, and well worth the effort of learning how to get there.

Questions to consider:

What does it mean to "be yourself"?  How can the ability to do so be helpful to you in your life?

What does "sanctuary" mean to you?  How can it be possible that there is a permanent place of sanctuary inside of ourselves?

Why does Herman use the words "stillness" and "sanctuary" as synonyms?

For further thought:

Deep in the soul, below pain, below all the distraction of life, is a silence vast and grand--an infinite ocean of calm, which nothing can disturb; nature's own exceeding peace, which "passes understanding."  That which we seek with passionate longing, here and there, upward and outward; we find at last within ourselves.



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