Yesterday, @brandonwilson asked me this question in response to a post I wrote about practising meditation for slightly over 10 years:
Ten years is a long time. What are the 1-2 aspects of your life that you feel have fundamentally changed over that time period that you attribute to your practice of meditation?
One thing that changed was having this inner place of refuge. It's strange to talk about it as if it's a physical place, but it does cross over to the real world. The outer influences the inner, and the opposite is true as well. My teacher talks about it as your true home, wherever you are. Like a hermit crab which carries its home everywhere it goes, you carry this inner refuge from meditation, day in day out.
It's that sense that it'll be okay, even when things get rough. When the external situation gets chaotic and crazy, just taking a deep breath gives some precious moments of refuge. And as hard as it gets in the day, I know I can come home at the end of the day. Coming home is a great way to put it. Like a weary office worker coming home to a warm dinner and cool shower after a stressful day of fire-fighting and crisis-managing, coming back to this place, this inner refuge, in the moment, is like warm chicken soup for the soul.
A faithfulness that warm soup will be served every time you come home.
I'd like to believe that, with meditation, this refuge expands and grows deeper roots. I can't tell for sure, for despite ten years, it's still early to say. But it's beautiful to see meditation as building a home while living in it.
A home for the spirit. An inner refuge. That secret place.