I think it’s vital to understand that everything’s part of the practice.
Even those times when I sway from the Path altogether—that’s part of practice as well. It’s just like if you focus on the breath and occasionally lose track of it. You realize you’ve lost it, and then you return to it.
Realizing you’ve lost the breath is part of focusing on the breath, it’s part of meditation. So if you, say, get really wasted one night and have anonymous sex at a sport’s bar, that too is part of practice.
These experiences of losing track, of falling off the horse, are maybe the most important parts of practice. They teach us so much more about the nature of things than when we’re planted firmly on the Path.
If we accept these moments as part of the Path, we’re also getting close to the quick of non-duality, of Oneness. Nothing ever happens in the universe that isn’t right that doesn’t abide by the way things are.
It isn’t that everything happens for a reason, that’s a BS platitude. It’s that everything happens because it’s the very nature of reality for those things to happen. That doesn’t have quite the same ring to it though.
There have been many times in my life when I just broke down said, “This isn’t fair.” Especially when it comes to death. I’ve known so many amazing people and pets who’ve met such horrific ends. Each time, it reminds me of the stakes. It shatters all my fairy tales of Supreme Goodness and the supremacy of light over dark.
So saying that everything is right isn’t the same as saying everything’s good, because some shit is just downright not good… at all. It’s saying that good and bad are both wrapped up with the same bow. They’re the same thing subjected to different circumstances.
Circumstances change everything; context changes everything. It’s fine for me to let rip a huge burp around my friends, but not fine to do the same thing at a wake. That’s the essence of duality there, and why things seem to be many when they’re really not even one.
But, I digest, life is practice. I’ve practiced Buddhism in such away that it’s stretched into my memories and contextualized my past within it so that I feel I’ve always been a Buddhist. There isn’t one corner of my mind that’s immune to Dharma, it’s entered into everything.
Even when I stray, the Path is right there, I’ve never left it. Through all the highs and lows, it’s just the Way of said highs and lows. I can’t think of anything more beautiful than this.