Living Beautifully by Pema Chodran

I am constantly buffeted by my thinking mind, which is both a great source of joy and pain as it creates stories to amplify each life experience. I use all the techniques in my armoury shorten the pain/struggle so that I can attempt to be a better person to myself and those around me. Reading spiritual/meditation books is one of those techniques. I find that consistent reminders of good mental habits is necessary. A healthy mind is not a matter of learning that 1+1=2, it requires daily practice. I find these books particularly useful at the end of the day when my mind is tired and my ability to maintain mental hygiene is low. They also serve as a good reminder when they are sitting next to my bed.

I loved this book by Pema Chodran which was gifted to me by my friend Alex for my birthday last year. Chodran helped me to understand that life is deeply uncertain in each waking moment and that most of the stress we experience is a resistance to the “fundamental uncertainty of being human”.

Here are a few passages from Chodran herself,

In difficult times we grasp for solid ground, something predictable to stand on. But the very nature of our existence is forever in flux. How do we live whole-heartedly in the face of impermanence?

The real cause of suffering is not being able to tolerate uncertainty. Usually our attachment [[shenpa]] arises involuntarily – our habitual response to feeling insecure and we grasp to relieve the discomfort through food, alcohol, sex, shopping, social media, etc

We can spend our whole life suffering because we cannot relax with how things really are, or we can embrace the open-endedness of the human condition, which is fresh unfixated and unbiased

what if instead of thinking of and dwelling on these feelings as bad we can sit with them and see them as road signs or barometers that tell us we are in touch with the fundamental groundlessness. Then we can see the feelings for what they really are, the gateway to liberation.

Wherever we are right now, whatever our lives are like in the moment, this is our [[mandala]], our working basis for awakening. The awakened life is not somewhere else, in some distant place that is accessible only when we have got it all together.

This passage amused me,

When things start to fall apart in your life you feel like your whole world is crumbling. but actually its your fixed identity that is crumbling. And that is cause for celebration.

Are you ready to celebrate your life falling apart? 🙂


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