When people begin by taking refuge in the Buddha, dharma and sangha, this is not a way of joining in a particular set of belongings, a particular belief system. It’s an invitation to engage in patterns of enquiry and to use that enquiry as a path of freedom.
Whatever can free you can also imprison you, so it’s very important to have a clear sense of what your motivation is. Dogmatic tendencies are very pervasive. We human beings can believe all sorts of things very easily, investing our energy in them, be they political views, economic views, alliance to a particular golf club, it can be anything.
That very energy of identifications means that situations that are naturally open and flowing, like a river, rapidly turn into a swamp. The difference between the fresh flowing water and the sinking feeling of the swamp, is that one takes things too seriously, makes them over-important, cuts them off from the rest of the context that they’re in.
That over-privileging or attachment becomes then the basis for a feeling, 'I know who I am, I know what my life’s all about'. This may feel solid and secure but of course, life is not very solid and secure; things keep changing and these changes are unstoppable.