This quote sticks in my head like one of those earworms that creeps into your head off the radio and keeps popping up to annoy you and everyone around you each time you catch yourself singing the song.
“Whatever is happening is the path to enlightenment.” ~Pema Chödrön~
Very few people have Pema’s ability to find the wisdom in everyday life with such clarity and intensity. Everyday life is not all unicorns and glittery angels but the nitty-gritty stuff that we go through each day.
How can eight simple words convey so much meaning?
Does that mean that all those times in my day where my behavior is less than perfect is the path to enlightenment? YES
Does it mean that all the times where I am not loving, not compassionate, not nice, I am still in the game? YES
Does it mean that all the times when I lose perspective, that’s also part of the path to enlightenment? YES
Does it mean that all the times that I judge myself, thinking I’ve fallen off the wagon in my life, that is the path to enlightenment? YES
Does it mean that on those days when I lose it and I want to quit everything and move to an undisclosed location in the Caribbean and change my name I am still on the path? YES
I am taking a breath of relief.
Whatever is happening is the path to enlightenment.
None of our paths are made of smooth pavement only. Sometimes our paths are made of dirt and mud and rocks. And occasionally broken glass. But even in those cases the path is still the path.
We can’t live our lives chopping out the parts that are not that pretty.
We can’t delete scenes, crop here and there or change filters to get a brighter reality whenever it suits us.
We tend to be master editors of whatever is happening. But in reality, we all know. A lot of the events in our lives might not be Facebook or Instagram material but they also serve a purpose. They are an important part of the path to enlightenment, part of the full spectrum of circumstances that is your life. They keep you real. They break you open and they keep you open.
Observe everything. The big and the small. The shiny and the dark. The glamorous and the shameful. The victories and the defeats. Learn from every situation. Look at yourself. Your ups and downs in a single day.
Using everything in our lives as fuel for growth is how we become more integrated human beings, and more loving. Because the more we understand and accept the roller coaster that our life is sometimes, the more prepared we are to understand someone else’s roller coaster — because we know that whatever arises in our experience is always the path to enlightenment.
By Adrian Molina
Adrian Molina has been teaching yoga continuously since 2004. He is a well-known and respected instructor in Miami and New York, with an extensive worldwide following through his platform and school of yoga, Warrior Flow.Practice with Adrian Molina on Omstars