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Spiritual Practice for Difficult Times

Difficult times are an opportunity to deepen the spiritual path and practice, to dig down and ground yourself in your meditation. Take time to be still, to be quiet and listen.

Then get up and go outside. Take a walk. There are seasons for everything. The rhythms of change may be large or small, slow or fast. Appreciate the cycles of light and dark, gain and loss. The dharma is timeless and vast. It can be a source of truth for you during times of uncertainty and rapid change. All humans are intrinsically awake, sane and good. Express your basic sanity by refraining from acting in anger or fear. Manifest your own goodness through acts of kindness and generosity towards others. 

Don't settle for anger, fear or reactivity. You are responsible for your behavior. You are free to choose hatred. You are free to choose love. And remember, hatred never was cured with more hatred. 

Maintain the precepts. Practice the paramitas of generosity, discipline, patience, effort, meditation and wisdom. Practice personal integrity. 

Proclaim the dharma by being gentle but firm. Let your true nature shine forth with courage and bravery. And seek to disarm anger by giving no fear. Listen. Learn. Plant seeds of goodness and water and nurture these seeds as often as possible. May all beings be free of suffering.

Roshi Robert Althouse

Robert Althouse

Zen Life & Meditation Center, Chicago, 38 Lake Street, Oak Park, IL, 60302