I am loving this Buddhist teaching and yet this is a tricky truth for us to work with. It is always easier to point the finger at someone else, seeing someone else as the cause of our intense or nagging suffering. What this teaching is telling us is: whatever happens, don't ever blame anyone or anything else; turn the mirror back on yourself. This is dangerous because it is not blaming ourselves in the ordinary sense. Most of us are experts at this kind of "blame," beating ourselves up calling ourselves all sorts of names when we make a mistake or don't make the best choices. This negative self talk isn't the blame that I am talking about.

Drive all blames into one means that you can't blame anyone for what happens. Even if it's actually someone else's fault, blaming them will be utterly unhelpful and unproductive. This teaching challenges us to take full responsibility for everything that arises in our lives, understanding that what is manifesting in our outer world is a direct reflection of the state of our inner affairs. More importantly, this teaching reminds us that our reaction is always our "fault."  No circumstance or person can make us feel any kind of way without our permission. Something happened and since it did, the only thing to do is to make use of it; we can make it a part of our path, an opportunity for growth and transformation. Everything that happens, even the most disastrous, has potential benefit and rather than wasting time reacting unconsciously and looking for blame, we can make it our job to find the gem in the situation.

When we are faced with an unpleasant or challenging situation we can chose to face it and bring some light to what is truly showing up for us rather than getting caught up in complaining and whining. We can break the blame cycle and look for the wisdom. We can ask ourselves questions like: What can I learn from this situation? How can I make use of it for the path? What am I going to do from here?

There is no place to go but forward, and there is no other option for what has been other than what was. We can move forward with strength, wisdom and resilience cutting through the habit of feeling powerless and a victim of others and life's happenings. We can start living right now in a way that is true, powerful, and wise leading with the soul and manifesting our true desires.

For more information about Mayuri's programs and Family Yoga and Wellness Center in Pelham, NY, visit www.prasanthistudio.com or email her at mindfulmayuri@gmail.com

When things go right, we are cheerful----we feel good and have positive feelings----but as soon as bad things start to happen, we get depressed, unravel at the seams, or at the very best, we deal with it and cope- bracing ourself through the storm. We certainly don't transform our mishaps into the path. Why would we want to transform something that we want to be gone as soon as possible? The first thing that we need is deep patience. I am not talking about the passive, wishy washy patience that we tend to relate to in modern society. I challenge us to look at patience in a new light----as the capacity to welcome change and difficulty as it comes with an attitude of strength, resilience, endurance, and forbearance.

To practice this type of patience we can try to observe the obvious and more subtle ways that we try to avoid difficulty when it arises. What do we say and do? How does our body react to difficulty? Can we be quiet enough to notice if we  clench, contract, and grip when someone says something or does something that we don't like?

Rather than reacting unconsciously, we can be fiercely present with the things that challenge us. We can catch ourselves running away and reverse course coming back to what is really happening. Chances are it is not that serious and scary that we need to run for the hills. We can face what itThe "mishaps" on the path become opportunities to practice our mindfulness, to wake up and offer compassion to ourself and others, rather than an excuse to be in a bad mood or go back to being asleep or unconscious.

by Mayuri Gonzalez

“There are two ways to live your life: One is as though nothing is a miracle, the other is as though everything is a miracle.” ~Albert Einstein

Without stopping to pay attention, we miss a lot of life’s little treasures and gifts. Our focus can be so skewed towards the negative and what is “wrong” with our life. Just think about it. We can easily rattle off all of the reasons why we are stressed and in a bad mood, or list the things that annoy, anger or sadden us. Mass media operates in a
similar way, often focusing on all that is going badly without presenting a balanced perspective of all the good in the world. How much of your day do you spend thinking or worrying or resenting what is wrong? Is it just as easy to list all the treasures or things that are “right” and beautiful in your life?

PRACTICE: 5 Minute Gratitude List
In your notebook or journal, take five minutes to list the things for which you are grateful. Your list can be inspired by major components of your life such as family, friends, shelter, education, etc. or subtler things such as the warmth of the sun on your skin, the smell of dinner being cooked, or the smile of a stranger. Make this list of reflections current and relative to your own experience. If you get stuck or run out of “gratitudes” before the time is up, try not to get frustrated. Instead sit quietly in reflection and see if more come naturally. This is not a contest but a simple practice exercise. The audio below is a timer to help you keep time.

To help balance and open to a wider view on life, we turn to gratitude. To practice gratitude is to intentionally focus on and appreciate the things that give meaning to life.