Thursday, May 29, 2008

"Start Where You Are"

I've just started reading Pema Chodron's book, "Start Where You Are: A Guide to Compassionate Living." She has some interesting things to say about how we approach our experiences, both good and bad. For starters, she writes that "we already have everything that we need. There is no need for self-improvement.... From this perspective we don't need to change: you can feel as wretched as you like, and you're still a good candidate for enlightenment. You can feel like the world's most hopeless basket case, but that feeling is your wealth, not something to be thrown out or improved upon."

The approach she describes is one of staying mindfully present in the moment, of fearlessly staying present with our pain rather than avoiding it, and even of moving towards our pain -- because by approaching our pain in this way we can allow our pain to "awaken your heart and let it soften you."

Profound stuff. And radically different from a western world that tends to avoid pain at all costs.

2 comments:

Diane said...

wow, this sounds fascinating. I might just have to get ahold of this book.

Katherine E. said...

I've never heard of Pema Chodron, Steve, but now I'm very eager to get that book! Thank you!

As for your comment on my blog, we've been fans of BSG since the beginning. And my husband buys each of the seasons series as soon as they become available. He and my son-by-marriage watch the DVDs endlessly. As much as I like the show, that's a little much for me!