Thought Bite: Taking Responsibility For Our Lives

Originally posted in 2014, this is a message I felt bears repeating.

It's very human to cast blame for what we don't like in our lives. Often we blame others, and sometimes we blame fate. Although there seems to be a certain satisfaction in finding someone or something to blame, blaming doesn't solve the underlying problem. Often blaming makes the situation worse.

It's important to understand that blaming is not a Yoga practice. Rather, the way of Yoga is to take responsibility for our own lives, our own emotions, and our own happiness. Yoga philosophy says that our circumstances result from our karma, our actions.

This idea of karma is not a way of blaming fate for our sad condition. Rather, it is a way of empowering us. Here's how: If our past actions are what gave rise to the circumstances that we are now experiencing, then by our current actions we can change our future circumstances.

Years ago a teacher told me that to change my karma I had to do something different than I've done in the past. For example, if in the past every time I've gone down the road, I've turned left and ended up somewhere I didn't want to be, the next time I go down the road, I might turn right or not turn at all.

But how do I know which way to turn? Unless we have some information that will aid in this choice, we are left with trial and error: The next time I go down the path, when at the junction, I can simply choose differently, and then observe where the new choice takes me. Over time, I might play with making any number of choices at the junction, and the results will give me a lot of information, which will enable me to make better and better choices over time.

To make these different choices, I'll have to remember to be aware at the moment I'm at the junction, or my old habit will make the choice for me.

Don't expect an instant change in circumstances by making a few new choices. It has to be realized that our present circumstances result from many, perhaps millions of past choices, and it may take a concerted effort over time for things to change. But every time we make a better choice, we are setting something new into motion and over time, many such choices will add up.

So, if, instead of pointing the finger of blame, we take responsibility for improving the circumstances of our lives, this opens up an opportunity for us to change our lives for the better.


19 Dec 2021;
07:00PM - 08:00PM
Full Moon Meditation 2020