Responsibility Over Reactiveness

Trees sky and water

Over a thousand years ago, the great yogi scholar Atisha created a mind training that is still helpful today. “Drive all blames into one” is a slogan that addresses the way human beings so often place blame on others when things go awry.

When something goes wrong at home or at work, often the first reaction is to look for someone to blame. Offloading blame and responsibility seems to bring temporary relief, but blaming others usually leads to more distress. I know from painful experience that I could obsess about what THEY did, and feel self-righteously angry and agitated about it, or beat myself up about whatever mistake or misfortune happened. This slogan, “drive all blames into one,” doesn’t mean blaming and shaming oneself or anyone else. It’s a wisdom teaching: drive that energy of blame into awareness of how all things arise together and are interconnected.

No matter whose mistake or fault it may be, even when it’s disastrous for all concerned, there is a possibility of transforming shattered dreams and dashed hopes into wise understanding. Meditation helps a lot by offering the gift of some quiet time to reflect, calm down, and get some perspective.

From where I am right now at age 77, the view is so clear – ultimately there is no one to blame! Whatever happens is determined by countless causes and conditions intertwining in myriad ways, seen and unseen. By taking full responsibility, by working with your own reactivity, you can forgive yourself, open your heart, and make room for listening and learning from what happened. Doing this brings compassion, for your own hurt and for the pain of others. This way, with a little patience, you and I can return to kindness and caring, no matter what.

Love, Trudy

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