Poet and Zen teacher.
Wisdom to survive in difficult times
Fear and uncertainty mark our lives as we face our own difficulties and those of a troubled world. Yet in difficult times we can discover the love and vulnerability of the human heart, and so much more.
Troubled times are the best times for spiritual practice - for meditation. To find inner relief from your troubled mind the best thing is to just sit down and be present with your situation. Do not attempt to make your troubling thoughts go away or cover them up with pleasant thoughts. As you sit and relax you will realize that your anxious feelings are just that - thinking, feeling. Just realize that these negative feelings are just thoughts and you may be able to walk into the light.
Confronting, accepting, being with negative thinking and feelings, knowing that they are not the whole of reality, and not you, is the most beneficial of spiritual practices - better even than experiencing bliss or oneness if you can practice this by meditation.
Another way to reorient yourself with your thoughts and feelings is to share them with others. No doubt, many of your friends feel some despair as well these days - so listening to someone elses problems will allow you to forget about your own for a while. The best medicine is thinking of others - even if it is only for 5 minutes.
Whatever your problems or challenges, feel grateful to be alive - it is a gift. You exist in this beautiful world with others, with trees, plants, sky, water, stars, sun and moon. If you sit still long enough, and regularly enough you will feel this, even in your darkest moments.
What is really important is to be alive, to love and be loved. Be kind to others, regardless of expectation, losses and circumstances.
Sometimes difficult times bring out the best in us. When there is less, there is more appreciation, more capacity to soften critical judgement and simply enjoy what happens to be there, even if it is not the best.
We have lived in a society of ever increasing prosperity, a naive lust for material goods. We have lost all sense of proportion, and have forgotten how our ancestors lived, and how most of the world still lives today.
Suppose there will be no upward reaching growth of the economy, because we have reached the limits on a depleted planet. This may cause crisis and despair.
Maybe we could learn to share more with others and help them in their needs, learn to cook food, do a little more work around the house without outside help, learn to mend our clothes etc.
Even if the economy will recover to what it was, wouldn't it be nice to visualize and celebrate a simpler life - and maybe even to live it to be grateful for the more basic and beautiful things that it has to offer.