Last Thursday, I had a root canal–a procedure that is so unpleasant it has come to symbolize the epitome of unpleasantness. It is easy, when things like this happen, to wonder "what is the point" or "why me"?
Before learning to meditate, it seems life is made up of two kinds of happenings, fortunate and unfortunate. The fortunate propel us forward, the unfortunate set us back. However life is not a straight line. Everything that happens is for the purpose of evolution. And it happens not just for a reason, but for all reasons.
What that means is that, since everything is one on a certain level, everything is connected. An action is like a pebble thrown in a lake, the ripples of which touch countless other ripples. The longer you meditate, the more you begin to see evidence of this synchronicity.
While we may not know all the reasons for all things, if we stop labeling events as good or bad and start being curious about what kind of happenings come from an event, it feels like nothing is ever in vain. For example, my root canal and the painful weeks preceding were indeed uncomfortable, but I saw how my dad, by looking up articles on root canals and calling me daily to check in, felt more involved in my life. I saw how I got to have uplifting interactions with the dentist and the endodontist who worked on me. I felt a considerable amount of physical pain which will help me to empathize with my students who have health issues.
By practicing this perspective enough, you can even find gratitude for the "bad" things that come your way. It all comes from experiencing that sense of oneness and synchronicity Am I glad I had to spend thousands of dollars on an unpleasant procedure after a week and a half in pain? No, that was not my preference. However, I do enjoy witnessing the beautiful ripples it all made.