Monday, September 15, 2014

Going Home

Anja Tanhane

“Going home is like turning down the volume, so I can hear myself again.”
 Steve Jampijinpa, from the documentary Milpirri, Winds of Change 

Where is the place you can “come home to”, where the noisy volume of your everyday life is muted so you can become more grounded, gather your thoughts, hear yourself? When people meditate, they often describe a sense of coming back to themselves. Life is still busy, the demands that others make of them haven’t decreased, but there is a greater sense of living out of their centre rather than simply being buffeted about by life. Home can be a physical place where we feel comfortable, at ease, not having to prove ourselves or be someone special. We can also cultivate a sense of going home through rituals, reflection, taking time out. It is where we can reconnect with our deepest values, with what really matters to us. Yet it’s possible to rush along for months or years without ever touching base with this sense of returning home.

Home is the space where our soul feels nourished, where we feel free to express ourselves, to explore and feel safe. It could be singing in a weekly choir, sitting under a tree writing in a journal, going to a special place in nature, meditation and spiritual practices, cultivating a garden, sharing a home-cooked meal. It could be coming together with our family or a group of like-minded people, or being in a place where we love to be on our own. Going home will look different for all of us, but it comes with a deep sense of feeling love and acceptance. We venture out into the world to contribute and achieve, but hopefully we have a home base where we feel valued simply for who we are, rather than for our busyness, sacrifices and accomplishments. 

Home is not a place that is static, that we can take for granted. We may find we need to consciously make space for it in our lives, to remind ourselves on a regular basis to “return home”. Yet we can also get stuck there, craving security and ease at the cost of fulfilling our potential. As always, it’s a matter of balance, which will look different for all of us and at different stages of our lives. Yet if we never take the time to “go home”, we can lose touch with our deepest values and feel disconnected and alone.

Going home isn’t complex or difficult. Yes, it may involve organizing our time, creating the right conditions. Yet once we’ve made a commitment to going home, we might enjoy more than anything a sense of simplicity. As humans we have a tendency to over-complicate our lives. Going home is simply turning down the volume, so we can hear ourselves again.

Images by Anja Tanhane.
Edited by Constance Ellwood. 
Also, read "Kindhearted Compassion" by Anja on the ABW Blog here.

Anja Tanhane

Anja Tanhane has been a long term student of Geoff Dawson in Ordinary Mind Zen Melbourne. She is a registered music therapist, qualified Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) teacher, and Tai Chi instructor. She has also completed the two-year post-graduate professional training in Buddhism and Psychotherapy with the Australian Association of Buddhist Counsellors and Psychotherapists. A meditation and Tai Chi practitioner for over twenty years, she has provided workplace training in mindfulness to a wide range of community health and service providers, hospitals, and public service case managers. She has also offered rejuvenation days, incorporating mindfulness and self-care, for community leaders and volunteers in bushfire-affected areas, as well as teaching mindfulness to carer groups and people with a disability. She has been interviewed on mindfulness for the Australian Women’s Weekly website, and has given presentations about mindfulness including for AMTA and at the ‘Meditation Matters’ day at the University of Melbourne. She has published an article about her Zen practice in Prajna magazine, and writes a weekly blog on mindfulness for her website, Mindfulness Meditation.

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