PEMA CHODRON PDF
STUDY GUIDE TO THE WRITINGS OF PEMA CHÖDRÖN. The. ESSENTIAL PEMA. Preface by Tim Olmsted. Compiled and Edited by Lelia Calder. Pema Chödrön—by any measure, one of the most successful Western In cooperation with shambhala Publications, we offer this “Pema Chödrön Primer”— . ABOUT A YEAR and a half before. Ani Pema Chodron teaches a pro- gram, she has to come up with a title for it. now up on the stage at the. Omega institute in.
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When Things Fall Apart by Pema Chodron introduces the reader to Buddhist teachings and a more accepting way of approaching life. Pema Chödrön takes us step by step through this powerful practice. The Buddhist teachings tell us that patience is the antidote to anger and aggression. Pema Chödrön from The Places That Scare You. Pema Chödrön is a beautiful American Buddhist monk who gives us a Buddhist “guide to fearlessness in.
One way to work with this kind of procrastination is to build a routine around preliminary stretching or walking before your session. This gives you a way to ease into it by softening your body and mind before you begin meditating. Back to top Technique of Meditation Our minds usually jump wildly from thought to thought.
We replay the past; we fantasize about the future.
In meditation we take an upright posture, place our mind on an object, and keep it there. In shamatha meditation, the object is the simple act of breathing. The breath represents being alive in the immediacy of the moment.
When you sit down, take a balanced, grounded posture to allow the energy in the centre of your body to move freely. Imagine that a string attached to the top of your head is pulling you upright.
Let your body settle around your erect spine. Place your hands on your thighs, in a place not so far forward that it begins to pull your shoulders down, nor so far back that the shoulders contract and pinch the spine. Tuck your chin in and relax your jaw. The tongue is also relaxed, resting against your upper teeth. Your mouth is ever so slightly open.
Your gaze is downward, with the eyelids almost half shut. The basic technique is that we begin to notice our breath. Using the breathing as the object of meditation is especially good for calming a busy mind. The steady flow of the breath soothes the mind and allows for steadiness and relaxation. This is ordinary breathing; nothing is exaggerated.
One simple technique is to count the in-and out-cycles of breathing from one to twenty-one. We breathe in, and then out—one. In and then out—two. Place your mind on the breathing and count each cycle of breath. You can drop the counting when your mind is settled. When your focus is wavering, check your posture. Bring yourself back to the upright position. Imagine the string pulling your spine up straight and relax your body around it. Slouching impairs your breathing, which directly affects the mind.
What you want to be doing is the opposite: synchronizing your body and mind. When this happens, acknowledge that you are thinking and return your focus to the breath. In focusing you are bringing yourself back to attention. You are centering yourself in your mind and placing that mind on the breath. You are slowly settling. When you first begin to meditate, the movement of thoughts may feel like a rushing waterfall.
But as you continue to apply the technique of recognizing thoughts and returning your focus to the breath, the torrent slows down to a river, then to a meandering stream, which eventually flows into a deep, calm ocean. Back to top Gathering the Mind How we tame the mind is by using the technique of mindfulness. Quite simply, mindfulness is complete attention to detail.
We are completely absorbed in the fabric of life, the fabric of the moment. We realize that our life is made of these moments and that we cannot deal with more than one moment at a time. Even though we have memories of the past and ideas about the future, it is the present situation that we are experiencing.
The practice of mindfulness is the practice of being alive. When we talk about the techniques of meditation, these are techniques of life. Meditation is not about something that is separate from us. We are not trying to get into some kind of higher state of mind. The present situation is completely available, spontaneous and unbiased, and that we can see it that way through the practice of mindfulness.
When we begin to meditate, the first thing we realize is how wild things are-how wild our mind is, how wild our life is. Meditation is looking at our own backyard, you could say, looking at what we really have and discovering the richness that already exists. Discovering that richness is a moment-to-moment process, and as we continue to practice our awareness becomes sharper and sharper. This mindfulness actually envelopes our whole life.
It is the best way to appreciate our world, to appreciate the sacredness of everything. We add mindfulness and all of a sudden, the whole situation becomes alive.
Mindfulness pervades sound and space. It is a complete experience. For the movement of the mind to slow down like this takes long, consistent practice. A good practice is one that we keep doing ten minutes a day, year after year.
Through ups and through downs, slowly we become familiar with the natural stability, strength, and clarity of the mind. It becomes natural to return to that place. We let go of our conceptual ideas about it. Trungpa Rinpoche supported Pema when she decided not to remarry or to get in- volved in another relationship. This search took several years and finally brought her to Hong Kong. Continuing her exploration. She has said. As full ordination is denied to women in the Tibetan tradition.
California When in the U. Becoming Pema continued In her mid-twenties. Readers were moved by her earthy. In a interview with the Shambhala Sun. The Abbey. The Wisdom of No Escape. She is also an acharya senior teacher in the Shambhala community.
She was now constantly being asked to give talks and to take part in media events. November 7. Pema explained that she had learned from Kongtrul Rinpoche that everything we seek was like shifting. How to Tap Into the Natural Warmth of Your Heart The death of her mother and the pain of seeing how we impose judgments onto the world.
She had kept boxes of papers and trinkets that she treasured.
When my mother died and I was asked to go through her personal belongings. B e fo r e w e c a n k n ow what natural warmth really is. We go along for years moving through our days.
We see the meaninglessness of so photo s b y b e n h e i ne much of what we do and the emptiness of so much we cling to. Then we or someone dear to us has an accident or gets seriously ill. The question. How can we relax and open to the uncertainty of it? I remember the complete openness and gentleness I felt for those I met briefly in the post office or at the grocery store.
The loss of my mother and the pain of seeing so clearly how we impose judgments and values. People say it was like that in New York City for a few weeks after September For me these were just empty objects. Natural Warmth of the Heart continued They had represented security and comfort for her. After that I could never look at my own treasured objects in the same way.
To my surprise. I also felt an uncontrived tenderness for other people. The Buddhist teachings were just a pastime. When my second marriage fell apart. I remember explaining to myself that the whole world consisted of people just like me who were making much ado about nothing and suffering from it tremendously.
I found myself approaching the people I encountered as just like me—fully alive.
Now they were just boxes of stuff. I had seen that things themselves are just what they are. I could look into the eyes of store clerks and car mechanics.
I tasted the rawness of grief. Somehow when my heart broke. Seeing this made me sad. It is also common that this openness and compassion fades rather quickly.
It is fairly common for crisis and pain to connect people with their capacity to love and care about one another.
This was an experience of uncovering basic warmth. When I do this. It can become a daily practice to humanize the people that we pass on the street. I like. Natural Warmth of the Heart continued lives fell apart. The natural warmth that emerges when we experience pain includes all the heart quali- ties: Before these vulnerable feelings harden. The openheartedness of natural warmth is sometimes pleasant.
With time we can embrace it just as we would the comfortable tenderness of loving-kindness and genuine appreciation. It also includes loneliness. They come into focus as living beings who have joys and sorrows just like mine. The practice is to train in not automatically fleeing from uncomfortable tenderness when it arises.
A more extensive excerpt was published in the November issue of the Shambhala Sun. It helps us to know ourselves: On the other hand. It requires precision to be right there with that breath. Then we simply become aware of our breath as it goes out. Being aware of the Why Meditation Is Vital Although it is embarrassing and painful. The reason that people harm other people. If you find that your labeling has a harsh. The point is. By knowing yourself. Why Meditation is Vital continued breath as it goes out.
These thoughts that run through our minds continually are the other part. We are all up against these things. You can know all of that with some sense of humor and kindness.
Use the labeling part of the technique as an oppor- tunity to develop softness and compassion for yourself. We can continue to sit right here.
But being with the breath is only part of the technique. The touch on the breath is light: Compassion for others begins with kindness to ourselves. Anything that comes up is okay in the arena of meditation. We sit here talking to ourselves. Although it is embarrassing and painful. These things capture our attention slightly. It is like pushing the doorbell and waiting for someone to answer. Then you push the doorbell again and wait for someone to an- swer. Let it be compas- sionate and gentle and humorous.
I want to thank you so much. In Conversation: It was tonglen. In my experience suffering is perennial. I studied lojong mind training and I practiced tonglen. I had lost some- photo s b y C h r i s ti n e al icin o one I loved deeply and nothing seemed to help.
About four years ago I was having a very difficult time. But with this practice you take yourself completely as you are. But the lojong teach- ings say we can take that very moment and flip it. I was surprised how the heart literally responds to this practice. Instead of feeling you need some magic makeover so you can suddenly become some great person.
Is there any use in suffering? I think the reason I am so taken by these teachings is that they are based on using suffering as good medicine. You begin to think bigger. But does suffering really have a use? I used to think there was no use to it. Rather than depressing you. You can feel it responding physically. As you breathe in what is difficult to bear.
That was such a relief. The very thing that causes us to harden and our suffering to intensify can soften us and make us more decent and kinder people.
But if you keep going and doing the practice. I like what you say about understanding that the darkness represents A l ic e Wa l k e r: What usually happens in that moment is that it hardens us. That is quite amazing to feel. After all. He said the real problem is what he called negative negativity.
It was really good to have a humorous. You talk in your tapes about when you discovered that your former husband was seeing someone else. I kept having all these fantasies of destroying my ex- husband and they were hard to shake. You know. I think this is the result of going the distance in your own heart—really being disci- plined about opening your heart as much as you can. This was great. It was the beginning of my spiritual path.
When that marriage broke up. Nothing worked. The usual exits. I feel more openness toward people in my world. This was very helpful [laughter]. There was an enormous feeling of groundlessness and fear that came from not being able to entertain myself out of the pain. The thing I find. You know? Oh no! It just comes and goes. That humbles you. The openness brings the smile on my face.
The in- spiration that comes from feeling the openness seems so im- portant. So what happens? Does that ever happen to you? There are times when I meditate. At the same time the sense of joy does get stronger and stronger.
So I just let it ebb and flow. And when it gets painful. Given this. Every day of your life. Adapted for a lay audience from a talk to monastics at Gampo Abbey. O n e of m y favo r it e subjects of contemplation is this question: What is the best use of this day? What is the best use of each day of our lives? In one very short day.
For all of us. That was a whole day? What did I do with it? Did I move any closer to being more compassionate. Rather than as a prob- lem. When you are in touch with that larger environment. I know this habit so well myself.
Neverthe- less. Do you spend your whole time just thinking about things. Every time a habitual pattern gets strong. Are we poking our heads out of our cocoons long enough to actually taste it. We can allow space into our state of mind. Make the Most of Your Day continued passed in the snap of a finger. Whatever it is you are doing. We can stop and take three conscious breaths.
Or we could bury all these qualities more deeply and get more in touch with solid mind. When we realize that we are hooked. He said that this useless focus extends moment by moment into a continuum. That is a central question for the practitioner. The great fourteenth-century Tibetan teacher Longchenpa talked about our useless and meaningless focus on the details.
Before I talk more about consciously pausing or creating a gap. One of the most effective means for working with that moment when we see the gather- ing storm of our habitual tendencies is the practice of pausing.
This is what we are up against. It is the human predicament. Is my mind more open? What did I actually do? I feel how little time there is and how important it is how we spend our time. Awakened mind exists in our surroundings—in the air and the wind. It is what the Buddha recognized and what all the living teachers since then have recognized. As long as we are on automatic pilot.
Take three conscious breaths. Just be where you are! When you are washing up. These gaps. And these gaps can extend so that they can permeate your entire life. Make the Most of Your Day continued Pause practice can transform each day of your life. In any moment you could just listen. In any moment. It creates an open doorway to the sacredness of the place in which you find yourself. It is to leave a gap. This is part of the magic: Let it be like popping a bubble.
Let it be just a moment in time. Just pause. Let it be a contrast to being all caught up. It is a rat race. If you pause just long enough. When you are completely wound up about something and you pause. The vastness. Whether we are at a retreat center or on Wall Street. With each morning. When I first read the lojong.
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I was struck by their unusual message that we can use our difficulties and problems to awaken our hearts. It is unconditional compassion for ourselves that leads naturally to unconditional compassion Rather than seeing the unwanted aspects of life as obstacles. Here are ten of those slogans. This is advice on how to work with your fellow beings.
Nothing solid is really happening. Everyone is looking for someone to blame and therefore aggression and neurosis keep expanding. So work on cooling that reactivity rather than escalating it.
Others will always show you exactly where you are stuck. When you hold on so tightly to your view of what they did. Your own self-righteousness causes you to get all worked up and to suffer.
How to Develop Unconditional Compassion continued for others.When you hold on so tightly to your view of what they did.
Underlying all of these thoughts and emotions is our basic intelligence. We bite the hook and escalate the emotional reactivity. Oh no! Then we simply become aware of our breath as it goes out. It means getting even. Neverthe- less. We can continue to sit right here. Natural Warmth of the Heart continued They had represented security and comfort for her.
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