In last weekends Daily Buddha video “Modern Mindfulness” I touched upon how we encounter and deal (or not deal) with adversity in our daily existence. When the mind is filled with chaotic thoughts, adversities come quite easily. How we interpret the situation influences how we will experience it. That’s why it is so important to transform our mind.

The only person we can possibly change is ourselves.

When we have problems, do we think of transforming our mind? Usually, we think that the situation is unfair, that others are wrong for treating us badly, and that they should change. When we blame others, we are essentially giving our power to them because we’re thinking, “My problem and my unhappiness is the fault of that person”. Instead of either feeling sorry for ourselves or stewing in our anger, we need to change how we are viewing the situation.

So when you think of someone who makes your life difficult, put the Dharma you have learned into practice and transform your mental state. When you do, you’ll grow in the Dharma and will have increased confidence and courage to face difficulties. Your mind will be joyful. We need to practice patience and master fortitude. Developing such qualities requires people who challenge us. So on some level we should learn to appreciate them.

There are several ways we can look at an adverse situation in order to transform it into joy and courage. If we firmly believe and understand karma—that our actions produce the corresponding results we experience—we will know that if we criticize others, inevitably others will criticize us. Once we acknowledge that we can and often do create our own issues, it becomes easy to begin practicing the Dharma and transforming adversity into the path.

By harming others in the past, we indirectly harm ourselves. This doesn’t mean we deserve to suffer; we’re simply experiencing the results of our own actions. By treating others with kindness and compassion, we create the causes for our own future happiness. Understanding this, we will be more conscientious and mindful of our actions, bringing more peace in our life and influencing others in a positive way.

This is modern mindfulness and understanding.

Peace and Love, Jim

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