In these past days, sitting in a hospital room with my dearest one very ill, I have frequently recollected these words from Suzuki Roshi:
“You don’t really know what it means to sit in meditation until there is some great difficulty in your life. Not until something happens like the grave illness of someone you love. And then you are tearing your hair out and pacing back and forth in the corridor of the hospital and there’s nothing you can do. And finally you take a seat in the midst of your fears and your sorrows and thoughts and worries. And you just sit in the middle of it all. And that’s the moment that you begin to understand the power of your practice.”
Contemplation and experience of these words have deepened understanding that practice can be most easily developed when there is no present great disaster or catastrophe in our life. When we are in the depths of difficulty, cultivation and development of the equanimity needed to meet the exigencies of life may seem impossible. Yet, if we are consistently diligent and dedicated, no matter our present experience, our love of Dhamma and that consistency and dedication bring great power and sustain us, as Roshi says, “in the midst of our fears, sorrows, thoughts and worries.” This is our foundation and our omnipresent support—the great power of our practice. Having practiced, equanimity (balance based on wisdom) incrementally and surely develops, sustaining us through the inevitable undulations and exigencies of this human life. May it be so for you.