News From Afar #51 “Taking Refuge”

“No Man is an Island, entire of itself; everyone is part of the Continent, a part of the main” J Donne – 1624

Like many of you reading this I find myself in isolation, alone and apart from family and friends, with difficult new routines being called for. In a word in a new and challenging place of “refuge’.  For the past 30 days I have taken refuge here at our partially complete home “Casa Saasil” on the island of Isla Mujeres in the Mexican Caribbean.

 Even as we are forced to pull away from physical contact with one another in order to survive, we are increasingly drawn to, connected, and dependent upon others. In fact in order to survive it is increasingly evident humans must understand that all living things exist in a web of connectedness and dependency… of things seen and unseen. Humans are being forced to acknowledge that in order to survive we must embrace the fact we are all connected on this planet, and one’s thoughts and actions have consequence with the All. 

It seems a paradox that the calling for unity is being activated in human consciousness as the world’s population takes refuge in isolation and separateness. It seems the message is that in order to perceive the  connectedness, we must first be isolated and forced to go within and look deeper. Not surprising. This is an old tradition embraced by many more spiritual cultures. The tradition of vision quests, the mythical hero’s journey, the hermit, or sannyasi, in retreat; the monk taking refuge… all accepted traditions of isolation, or taking refuge in order to achieve Oneness!

What does it mean to take refuge in, or from something?

Taking refuge implies entering a place of peace or safety. It can be within, or outwardly. Refuge from illness, chaos, discord, loss, or persecution. Refuge in that which inspires, heals, or protects.

Until now we have had the luxury to postpone, or deny, addressing our earthly illnesses.  Now the entire planet is being forced to take healing refuge as we confront our past actions and thoughts regarding our anthropomorphic self-serving actions.

Wherever one finds oneself in refuge today, enormous work is required to maintain one’s well-being within one’s space or place of refuge.  Creating purposeful refuge is not so different than embarking on the ancient hero’s journey; the quest to find answers and insights to life’s biggest challenges in order to create deeper meaning and more purposeful, sustainable lives. It takes preparation, sacrifice and discipline and commitment.

As I have said to many friends and clients, it seems I have been preparing for this world event and time of refuge for all my life. My choices and lifestyle and circumstances this lifetime have prepared me to a degree to be able to be alone, be productive inwardly, and see this “retreat into refuge” as an opportunity for further growth and offering my life’s work to assist others through these challenging times. Actually when I think about it,  I have been taking refuge in personal spiritual retreats, safaris in the wilderness, and my personal inner journey for more than half a century! 

No matter everyone’s current daily personal realities, if we are looking for insights, answers, solutions, and methods to create better, healthier, and more sustainable lives, Nature demands we let go of the old paradigms and conditioning to truly begin healing. This is precisely what we are now being required to do both personally, and ultimately collectively: to heal this world we are but a part of. This necessitates letting go of old concepts, demands, attachments and images of anthropomorphic entitlement.

This is a planetary Rite of Passage.

A tool for doing precisely this in this time of isolation is creating new routines. It can be very difficult to create new routines of thought and action because the two are interconnected. But we must let go of old, unsustainable behaviors and beliefs which have led us all to the current crisis and the need to take refuge. Creating new, flexible, and evolving routines that are no longer based on the past and archaic motives is the challenge and the key. By creating healthy new routines and letting go of the past, we open ourselves gradually to increased change and awakening. But it is not easy! Try to remember when despondency and darkness appears this is an opportunity to do deep work and garner insight into our psyches and souls that are usually occupied with the usual routine of thought and action. We are being called upon to create the new.

The home, or our daily place of refuge, sets the tone, the first step or foundational stage for addressing our inward life. From here we can begin our hero’s journey, our path to healing. Our place of refuge must become trusted as a place, and time, of healing and transformation and support for our letting go process so that new ways of being can appear.

The reality of taking meaningful transformative refuge requires discipline, introspection and presence. There are predictable stages of challenge when going “into refuge”.  These are the same as predictable stages of a ceremonial Rite of Passage. My public talks over the past 15 years have all focused on preparing for our current planetary Rite of Passage.  

Three predictable stages of going through a ROP are:

1. Separation

2. Transition

3. Unity

It is not difficult to see this as a map for the challenges of the ROP we are currently undergoing collectively. I will write more on this ROP in the next “News From Afar”.

I suggest finding tools that assist in creating and maintaining and understanding the mechanics of your inner and outer place of refuge as you go through your own Rite of Passage. This time of isolation and refuge is perfect for a daily practice of self-care and devotion to change as part of the healing of the “whole”…

When creating change or finding a new routine, it may be helpful to consider implementing something “new” on each of the following levels…….

  • Physical

A new physical routine could be a new exercise program; introducing a new diet; abandoning unhealthy habits; taking time to walk or hike if possible; sleeping with purpose, not simply from exhaustion; initiate a new hobby or activity that has been put off due to busyness

  • Emotional/Mental

Write or record personal thoughts and feelings during this historic time; re-evaluate where previously energy has been expended into unfulfillment; find a new educational avenue to study and explore such as learning a new language

  • Spiritual

Offer an act of kindness or compassion to something or someone each day. Compassion is the essence of the Buddhist concept of Bodhichitta…awakening through compassion and intending each personal action and thought as being beneficial to All things. If it is not good for the All, it cannot be good for the individual.

“Rabbit jumps the stream

Stirs the sea eternally

All things connected” Ray – 1970

I wrote the above Haiku poem when I was 15. Both the opening poem by John Donne and this one speak to the perception that every action and thought, no matter how small, has immense consequence with everything that comes after.  This will ultimately be the most important lesson learned by humans, if we are to survive.

Public Offerings

  • 1 hour Personal & Planetary Healing Meditation each Sunday evening 6:30 PM CST

For the past 6 years on July 4th I have offered a group distance Healing meditation with the intention or theme being releasing the past and those things that no longer serve us.

I will be offering this group meditation connection at distance theme each Sunday evening at 6:30 pm CST, 7:30 pm EST, and 4:30 pm PST. Simply sit quietly in your place of refuge at the appointed time and meditate upon the intention to release those attachments to energies, concepts, illusions, or things that keep one bound to the past. Open your self to the healing forces that will emanate from here on the southern end of Isla Mujeres where I will be sitting on focusing on the same. This location in the eastern most Mexican Caribbean has long been held as a focal point of energy and healing. The temple of Ixchel, Mayan Goddess of healing, sits close-by. If we are to move fully through this crisis, letting go of the myriad manifestations of the past must be realized.

  • Weekly “News From Afar” series

Each week I will be posting a continuation of my “News From Afar” series of writings sharing insights and tools to assist moving through our current challenge of change. These will be shared on several platforms.  and “News from Afar” website page

As well as brief edited versions on InstaGram  @RayJohnstonIntl and on Facebook  

Ray Johnston International

  • Private Healing Sessions by Appointment

I am continuing offering private recorded distance healing sessions…. Beginning 4/15, 60 minute sessions  are ½ price @ $100.

If you are not able to pay, limited sessions will still be offered to assist with these challenging times. Each person requesting will be personally included in my daily morning meditations with a specific healing intent.

In appreciation for your commitment to healing;


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