The Places that Scare You: A Guide to Fearlessness in Difficult Times Paperback – Aug 13 2002
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Pema Chödrön may have more good one-liners than a Groucho Marx retrospective, but this nun's stingers go straight to the heart: "The essence of bravery is being without self-deception"; "When we practice generosity, we become intimate with our grasping"; "Difficult people are the greatest teachers." These are the punctuations to specific teachings of fearlessness. In The Places That Scare You, Chödrön introduces a host of the compassionate warriors' tools and concepts for transforming anxieties and negative emotions into positive living. Rather than steeling ourselves against hardship, she suggests we open ourselves to vulnerability; from this comes the loving kindness and compassion that are the wellsprings of joy. How do we achieve it? Through meditation, mindfulness, slogans, aspiration, and several other practices, such as tonglen, which is taking in the pain and suffering of others while sending out happiness to all--emphasis on the all. Chödrön introduces each of these practices in turn, backing them up with succinct practical reasoning and a framework of ideas that offers fresh interpretations of familiar words like strength, laziness, and groundlessness. Chödrön is the type of person you'd like to have with you in an emergency, and to deal with the extremes of daily life. In her absence, The Places That Scare You will do nicely. --Brian Bruya --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
American Tibetan Buddhist nun Chodron (When Things Fall Apart) teaches an intense form of meditation in which readers are encouraged to become "warrior-bodhisattvas," those who courageously confront suffering. Warrior-bodhisattvas, according to Chodron, are willing to have their inner selves broken, while keeping their minds and hearts from shutting down. They take on suffering with compassion and loving-kindness, working through their own emotions of fear or anger to help alleviate others' pain. Chodron highlights six traditional paramitas to model (generosity, discipline, patience, enthusiasm, meditation and unconditional wisdom) and cautions that ego, self-deception, unforgiveness and a grasping for permanence all present barriers to compassion. True meditation cultivates the qualities of steadfastness, clarity of vision and attention to the present moment. Despite the title, this book is more about generating compassion than facing fears. A few humorous vignettes are interspersed with the deeply philosophical text, such as when Chodron describes discovering her boyfriend in an intimate embrace with another woman. She tried to throw something at the couple, but the thing she picked up was a priceless piece of pottery that belonged to their millionaire host. "The absurdity of the situation totally cut through my rage," she explains, noting that many times "wisdom is inherent in emotions." Moments such as these mitigate the intensity of this highly cerebral book, which will offer meaty reflections for the serious practitioner, but less guidance for the mere bookstore Buddhist. (Sept.)Forecast: This title will receive some terrific exposure this fall. Shambhala Sun will excerpt two chapters and feature Chodron on the cover of its August/September issue, and New Age Journal will run an excerpt in September. In the piece de resistance, O magazine will run a substantial profile on Chodron in the October issue.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title. See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
This is a great companion volume to her book "When Things Fall Apart." It elaborates on themes introduced there, describing several practices of Tibetan Buddhism, some ancient and long forgotten, which help us not only cope with anxiety but use it to overcome fearfulness. This is an important spiritual effort because while we typically think of hate as the enemy of love, it is really fear that makes love difficult. Fear immobilizes us, makes us pull the covers over our heads, and isolates us from others.
Chödrön, a student of Chögyam Trungpa, encourages the consistent practice of meditation. And she discounts the usual results-driven expectations people associate with it, pointing out that as we confront our true selves in meditation, it often becomes more and more difficult, not easier. And for those who have found meditation fiercely frustrating, as I have, she has alternatives. The practice of "tonglen" is one simple spiritual ritual that can be done anywhere, anytime, providing a dramatic and freeing shift in emotional perspective.Read more ›
The author lays out ways to analyze ourselves, our emotions and our thoughts. She discusses how we as humans react to our thoughts and pain. Her book analyzes the causes and roots of suffering. She then asks "why do must people suffer in such a similar way?". Decades of acquired wisdom are then offered.
The causes and roots of suffering are our fleeing from pain, running for comfort. Fleeing without knowing why, fleeing without knowing where we are going. The descriptions of human behaivor are spot on accurate. This describes so many Western philosophers, political reformers, talented artists, and many people who are looking to find 'the one true way'.
After laying out the causes of suffering, she distills her understanding of human behaivor, and gives us ways to approach these problems. Practical, approachable ways that you can build on over time. This isn't a set of principles of "Look at the world with happiness, and you too will be happy", or a collection of trite sayings to convince yourself "You're good enough, you're smart enough, and doggone it, people like you". Slogans don't allow us to analyze and understand the root causes of our pain and suffering. This book lays out those causes. And it lays out ways we can study suffering, and use our efforts to transform our lives from unsure, troubled beings to people who have a firm grasp of themselves.Read more ›
The Places that Scare You is all about learning fearlessness in the face of the things that are frightening. Cultivating compassion and accepting the impermanence of things are just some of the lessons Chodrön draws from the Shambala Buddhist tradition. She writes also about how important it is to take life with equinimity -- that is, accepting the pleasant with the unpleasant and letting all forms of experience arrise in our existence.
No matter how good we are at living, explains Chodrön, we aren't able to avoid what we don't like and keep only what we do like. Seeking pleasure and avoiding pain is the type of behavior at the root of human suffering. Furthermore, simple human reality implies taking the good with the bad.
Chodron's writing is simple, cutting and at times, a bit bleak. But her advice is to the point and very useful. If this is the first book of hers you're considering, go ahead. Her voice will remain with you.
Most recent customer reviews
A great read. Another helpful guide for those in the quest of understanding it all.Published 2 months ago by Ken Wright
Again I have read most of Pema's book and would love to meet and have a chat with her. My life did not have good beginnings bout Pema helped me to straighten out some of the... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Rudy Cooper
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