Using Adversity   Pema Chodron

Drive All Blames Into One
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When we look at the world in this way we see that it all comes down to the fact that no one is ever encouraged to feel the underlying anxiety, the underlying edginess, the underlying soft spot, and therefore we think that blaming others is the only way. Reading just one newspaper, we can see that blaming others doesn't work.

We have to look at our own lives as well. How are we doing with our Juan and Juanitas? Often they're just the people with whom we have the most intimate relationships. They really get to us because we can't just shake them off by moving across town or changing seats on the bus, or whatever we have the luxury of doing with mere acquaintances, whom we also loathe.

It doesn't mean, instead of blaming other people, blame yourself. It means to touch in with what blame feels like altogether. Instead of guarding yourself, instead of pushing things away, begin to get in touch with the fact that there's a very soft spot under all that armor, and blame is probably one of the most-perfected armors that we have. You can take this slogan beyond what we think of as 'blame' and practice applying it simply to the general sense that something is wrong. When you feel that something is wrong, let the story line go and touch in to what's underneath.

Strangely enough, we blame others and put so much energy into the object of anger or whatever it is because we're afraid that this anger or sorrow or loneliness is going to last forever...'Drive all blames into one' is saying, instead of always blaming the other, OWN the feeling of blame, OWN the anger, OWN the loneliness and make friends with it. Use the tonglen practice to see how you can place the anger or the fear or the loneliness in a cradle of loving-kindness; use tonglen to learn how to be gentle to all that stuff. In order to be gentle and create an atmosphere of compassion for yourself, it's necessary to stop talking to yourself about how wrong everything is - or how right everything is, for that matter.

From Start Where You Are : A Guide to Compassionate Living by Pema Chodron, Copyright 1994, Shambhala Publications.
Published by arrangement with Shambhala Publications, Inc., Boston.

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Probably the most accessible introduction to the Mind Training practice. Pema combines a deep understanding of the Western Mind, deep immersion in the Tibetan tradition, and a wonderful sense of humor about human nature. This book is unique in that Pema shares with us her own struggles and failures, and shows, using examples that we Westerners can relate to, how the proverbs can gently bring us back to the path. Her humor, understanding, and love shine through this book
A wonderful set of tapes, every one of which I have played many times. 'Pema shows you how to use your own painful emotions as stepping stones to wisdom, compassion and fearlessness. You will learn how to make friends with the most painful parts of your life experience, and how to use your natural courage and honesty to transform even the most painful situations.'
This commentary on "Using adverse conditions as the path to awakening" is the ideal book for someone in crisis. Its aim is not to survive the crisis, but to use it as a unique opportunity to let go and open up. I'm sure you know someone in crisis right now, and this is the perfect gift for them (or for yourself).
Set of 6 audiocassettes on Mind Training, the Four Immeasurables, and other subjects.
This is an abridged pocket edition of Pema's first book, "The Wisdom of No Escape". Carry it everywhere you go, open it at random to any piece of her humorous and compassionate wisdom. Or just look into her eyes on the cover photo! A bargain.
Instruction on Shamatha-Vipashyana (calm abiding and insight) meditation with all of Pema's characteristic touch and humanity.