Jan. 7th, 2012

sabrinamari: (Daily practice)
I'm hoping for a peaceful weekend. I think I'll start by going to the gym.
sabrinamari: (Pema)
"During a long retreat, I had what seemed to me the earth-shaking revelation that we cannot be in the present and run our story lines at the same time! It sounds pretty obvious, I know, but when you discover something like this for yourself, it changes you. Impermanence becomes vivid in the present moment; so do compassion and wonder and courage. And so does fear. In fact, anyone who stands on the edge of the unknown, fully in the present without a reference point, experiences groundlessness. That's when our understanding goes deeper, when we find that the present moment is a pretty vulnerable place and that this can be completely unnerving and completely tender at the same time...

Instructions on mindfulness or emptiness or working with energy all point us to the same thing: being right on the spot that nails us. It nails us right to the point of time and space that we are in. When we stop there and don't act out, don't repress, don't blame it on anyone else and also don't blame it on ourselves, then we meet with an open-ended question that has no conceptual answer. We also encounter our heart."


"No one ever tells us to stop running away from fear. We are very rarely told to move closer, just to be there, to become familiar with fear...But the advice we usually get is to sweeten things up, smooth it over, take a pill, or distract ourselves, but by all means make it go away.

We don't need that kind of encouragement, because dissociating from fear is what we do naturally. We habitually spin off and freak out when there's even the merest hint of fear. We feel it coming and we check out. It's good to know we do that---not as a way to beat ourselves up, but as a way to develop unconditional compassion. The most heartbreaking thing of all is how we cheat ourselves of the present moment.

Sometimes, however, we are cornered; everything falls apart and we run out of options for escape. At times like that, the most profound spiritual truths seem pretty straightforward and ordinary. There's nowhere to hide. We see it as well as anyone else---better than anyone else. Sooner or later we understand that although we can't make fear look pretty, it will introduce us to all the teaching we've ever heard or read.

So the next time you encounter fear, consider yourself lucky. This is where the courage comes in...The trick is to keep exploring and not bail out, even when we find out that something is not what we thought. That's what we're going to discover again and again and again. Nothing is what we thought. I can say that with great confidence. Emptiness is not what we thought. Neither is mindfulness or fear. Compassion---not what we thought. Love. Buddha nature. Courage. These are code words for things we don't know in our minds, but any of us could experience them. These are words that point to what life really is when we let things fall apart and let ourselves be nailed to the present moment."

Pema Chodron


Jan. 7th, 2012 06:42 pm
sabrinamari: (Pema)
"Recently I was talking with a man I’ve known for a long time. I’ve always considered him to be a shy, good-hearted person who spends more time than most helping other people. On this day he was completely despondent and feeling like a hopeless case. Intending to be facetious, I asked him, “Well, don’t you think that somewhere on this planet there might be someone worse than you?” He answered with heartbreaking honesty, 'No. If you want to know what I really feel, it’s that there’s no one as bad as me.'
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Pema Chodron


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