Teaser: It all comes down to the One Rule.
Sometimes the inspiration for this article just drops in with crystal clarity upon seeing an adorable squirrel or having a big insight about a Practice principle at play. In those moments, the words flow as smoothly and freely as a waterfall. Then there are times, when words come in a tangle and nothing is flowing. At those times, I've learned to step away from the keyboard, take a walk, or sit in the Monastery courtyard. On a process level, this supports redirecting attention away from conditioned mind and to thisherenow. Love invariably bubbles up in this process—love for the clover on the ground at my feet, the little beetles crawling in the dirt, the warmth of the sun on my face, and a deep abiding love for the Practice that draws me back to thisherenow again and yet again.
There are so many things to love about this Practice, and always perched at the top of my love list is the One Rule. It can be the backdrop of life, and it facilitates coming back to this place of Love, without fail. "We will use everything in our experience to see how we cause ourselves to suffer so we can drop that and end suffering." Living the One Rule is one of the very best ways to live "everything is the Buddha" because in it nothing is excluded from the process of waking up and ending suffering. No matter what we experience—grief, boredom, excitement, guilt, resentment, rage, giddiness, glee, or even stuckness at writing a newsletter article—it is an opportunity to pay attention and see how we are caused to suffer so we can drop it and end suffering.
Before the One Rule the world was dualistic, with everything cast in the light of "good times" and "bad times." Days, months, years of life were spent trying to get to the "good" side of the duality and stay there. Of course, doing so was impossible.
After learning the One Rule, we have an off-ramp from the duality and a tool to use with whatever content shows up. We can practice using everything in our experience as a way out of suffering rather than letting ego use it as evidence that we deserve to suffer.
As we often say, we are indeed lucky human beings. We are fortunate beyond words to have such a guiding light by which to live.