I believe that, given the right awareness tools, we all have the potential to be inner alchemists, with the natural ability to turn our moments of confusion into insightful clarity. Gradually, as we practice doing this with our troubling feelings, we can gain an understanding of their causes. . . .

Emotional alchemy allows for the possibility that our bewilderment and turmoil might blossom into insightful clarity. "In almost every bad situation," says Nyanaponika Thera, a Buddhist monk, "there is the possibility of a transformation by which the undesirable may be changed into the desirable."

There is a simple but ingenious judo in this emotional alchemy: to embrace all experiences as part of a transformative path by making them the focus of mindfulness. Instead of seeing disturbance and turmoil as a distraction realize that they too can become the target of a keen attention. "In that way, " Nyanaponika notes, "enemies are turned into friends, because all these disturbances and antagonistic forces have become our teachers."

Tara Bennett-Goleman, Emotional Alchemy