By Daniel Scharpenburg
Whatever we find in life, whether it’s good, bad, or somewhere in between, can be part of our spiritual path.
Our path is our life and we’re always on it, even when we think we’re not. Sometimes things go bad and we think we’ve lost sight of the path, but we never really lose sight of it. Life gets busy and confusing. There are times when we think we aren’t practicing Buddhism very well, but we’re always still on the path. Once we’ve started, we can always keep going.
The purpose of this slogan is to remind us that we’re still on the path, even when we’re feeling tired or cranky. Even when we haven’t meditated in weeks or we’re yelling at other people too much—we’re still on the path. We don’t stop being Buddhist when we do things that we think may be un-Buddhist. So, rather than beating ourselves up or judging ourselves harshly when it feels like we aren’t doing what we need to, we can use that instead.
Every incident of irritation or un-mindfulness can serve as a reminder that we have the potential to do more—to be more. That’s the best way we can look at things when we’re struggling. And bad or good, things that happen to us are part of the path too. The bad things teach us patience. The good things teach us appreciation.
Everything you meet is the path.
The spiritual teacher Ram Dass said that everything that happens is just “grist for the mill of awakening.” I don’t know what grist is, but the point he was making is that anything and everything is part of our spiritual journey. When we divide things up into “sacred” and “ordinary,” or “spiritual” and “not spiritual,” we are creating trouble for ourselves.
Editor: Dana Gornall