Famous Quotes & Sayings

Pema Chodron Quotes & Sayings

Enjoy the top 100 famous quotes, sayings and quotations by Pema Chodron.

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Famous Quotes By Pema Chodron

Pema Chodron Quotes 1865332

Surrendering, letting go of possessiveness, and complete nonattachment-all are synonyms for accumulating merit. — Pema Chodron

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It has a lot to do with developing patience, not with the check-out person so much, but with your own pain that arises, the rawness and the vulnerability, and sending some kind of warmth and love to that rawness and soreness. I think that's how we have to practice. — Pema Chodron

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Feel the feelings and drop the story. — Pema Chodron

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Our neurosis and our wisdom are made out of the same material. — Pema Chodron

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It's as if you were in a spaceship going to the moon, and you looked back at this tiny planet Earth and realized that things were vaster than any mind could conceive and you just couldn't handle it, so you started worrying about what you were going to have for lunch. There you are in outer space with this sense of the world being so vast, and then you bring it all down into this very tiny world of worrying about what's for lunch ... We do this all the time. — Pema Chodron

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Knowing pain is a very important ingredient of being there for another person. — Pema Chodron

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When you begin to touch your heart or let your heart be touched, you begin to discover that it's bottomless, that it doesn't have any resolution, that this heart is huge, vast, and limitless. You begin to discover how much warmth and gentleness is there, as well as how much space. — Pema Chodron

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Being caught by the lord of speech may start with just a reasonable conviction about what we feel to be true. However, if we find ourselves becoming righteously indignant, that's a sure sign we've gone too far and that our ability to effect change will be hindered. Beliefs and ideals have become just another way to put up walls. — Pema Chodron

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Our tendencies with their habitual story lines are described as seeds in the unconscious. When the right causes and conditions come together, these preexisting propensities pop up like flowers in the springtime. It's helpful to contemplate that it's these propensities and not what triggers them that are the real cause of our suffering. — Pema Chodron

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Sometimes you just have to let everything fall apart. — Pema Chodron

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Hell is just resistance to life. — Pema Chodron

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Once I had an opportunity to talk with Chogyam Trungpa, Rinpoche, about the fact that I was not able to do my practice properly. I had just started the vajrayana practices and I was supposed to be visualizing. I couldn't visualize anything. I tried and tried but there was just nothing at all; I felt like a fraud doing the practice because it didn't feel natural to me. ( ... ). So he encouraged me by saying that as long as you have these kinds of doubts, your practice will be good. — Pema Chodron

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It is our conditional compassion for ourselves that leads naturally to compassion for others. — Pema Chodron

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Suffering begins to dissolve when we can question the belief or the hope that there's anywhere to hide. — Pema Chodron

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Hope and fear come from feeling that we lack something; they come from a sense of poverty. We can't simply relax with ourselves. We hold on to hope, and hope robs us of the present moment. We feel that someone else knows what is going on, but that there is something missing in us, and therefore something is lacking in our world. — Pema Chodron

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The only way to ease our pain is to experience it fully. Learn to stay with uneasiness, learn to stay with the tightening, so that the habitual chain reaction doesn't continue to rule your life. — Pema Chodron

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When we reach our limit, if we aspire to know that place fully - which is to say that we aspire to neither indulge nor repress - a hardness in us will dissolve. We will be softened by the sheer force of whatever energy arises - the energy of anger, the energy of disappointment, the energy of fear. When it's not solidified in one direction or another, that very energy pierces us to the heart, and it opens us. This is the discovery of egolessness. It's when all our usual schemes fall apart. Reaching our limit is like finding a doorway to sanity and the unconditional goodness of humanity, rather than meeting an obstacle or a punishment. — Pema Chodron

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Anyone who stands on the edge of the unknown, fully in the present without 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. — Pema Chodron

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Awakening is not a process of building ourselves up but a process of letting go. It's a process of relaxing in the middle - the paradoxical, ambiguous middle, full of potential, full of new ways of thinking and seeing - with absolutely no money-back guarantee of what will happen next. — Pema Chodron

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Life is like stepping into a boat that is about to sail out to sea and sink. - SHUNRYU SUZUKI ROSHI A — Pema Chodron

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When we scratch the wound and give into our addictions we do not allow the wound to heal. — Pema Chodron

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Whether it's ourselves, our lovers, bosses, children, local Scrooge, or the political situation, it's more daring and real not to shut anyone out of our hearts and not to make the other into an enemy. If we begin to live like this, we'll find that we actually can't make things completely right or completely wrong anymore, because things are a lot more slippery and playful than that. Everything is ambiguous; everything is always shifting and changing, and there are as many different takes on any given situation as there are people involved. Trying to find absolute rights and wrongs is a trick we play on ourselves to feel secure and comfortable. — Pema Chodron

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Leonard Cohen once said about the benefits of many years of meditation, "The less there was of me, the happier I got." Letting — Pema Chodron

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There is a story of a woman running away from tigers. She runs and runs and the tigers are getting closer and closer. When she comes to the edge of a cliff, she sees some vines there, so she climbs down and holds on to the vines. Looking down, she sees that there are tigers below her as well. She then notices that a mouse is gnawing away at the vine to which she is clinging. She also sees a beautiful little bunch of strawberries close to her, growing out of a clump of grass. She looks up and she looks down. She looks at the mouse. Then she just takes a strawberry, puts it in her mouth, and enjoys it thoroughly. Tigers above, tigers below. This is actually the predicament that we are always in, in terms of our birth and death. Each moment is just what it is. It might be the only moment of our life; it might be the only strawberry we'll ever eat. We could get depressed about it, or we could finally appreciate it and delight in the preciousness of every single moment of our life. — Pema Chodron

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Patience is not learned in safety. — Pema Chodron

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Fear is a natural reaction to moving closer to the truth — Pema Chodron

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I can't overestimate the importance of accepting ourselves exactly as we are right now, not as we wish we were or think we ought to be. — Pema Chodron

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We sometimes think that dharma is something outside of ourselves - something to believe in, something to measure up to. However, dharma isn't a belief; it isn't dogma. It is total appreciation of impermanence and change. The teachings disintegrate when we try to grasp them. We have to experience them without hope. Many brave and compassionate people have experienced them and taught them. The message is fearless; dharma was never meant to be a belief that we blindly follow. Dharma gives us nothing to hold on to at all. — Pema Chodron

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In a nutshell, when life is pleasant, think of others. When life is a burden, think of others. — Pema Chodron

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For an aspiring bodhisattva, the essential practice is to cultivate maitri, or loving-kindness. — Pema Chodron

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To live is to be willing to die over and over again. — Pema Chodron

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We can use our difficulties and problems to awaken our hearts. — Pema Chodron

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Patience takes courage. It is not an ideal state of calm. In fact, when we practice patience we will see our agitation far more clearly. — Pema Chodron

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Not causing harm requires staying awake. Part of being awake is slowing down enough to notice what we say and do. The more we witness our emotional chain reactions and understand how they work, the easier it is to refrain. It becomes a way of life to stay awake, slow down, and notice. — Pema Chodron

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Ego is like a room of your own, a room with a view with the temperature and the smells and the music that you like. You want it your own way. You'd just like to have a little peace, you'd like to have a little happiness, you know, just gimme a break. — Pema Chodron

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Buddhist words such as compassion and emptiness don't mean much until we start cultivating our innate ability simply to be there with pain with an open heart and the willingness not to instantly try to get ground under our feet. For instance, if what we're feeling is rage, we usually assume that there are only two ways to relate to it. One is to blame others. Lay it all on somebody else; drive all blames into everyone else. The other alternative is to feel guilty about our rage and blame ourselves. — Pema Chodron

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As human beings, not only do we seek resolution, but we also feel that we deserve resolution. However, not only do we not deserve resolution, we suffer from resolution. We don't deserve resolution; we deserve something better than that. We deserve our birthright, which is the middle way, an open state of mind that can relax with paradox and ambiguity. — Pema Chodron

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In meditation we can notice how emotions and moods are connected with having lost or gained something, having been praised or blamed, and so forth. We can notice how what begins as a simple thought, a simple quality of energy, quickly blossoms into full-blown pleasure and pain. — Pema Chodron

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Compassionate action involves working with ourselves as much as working with others. — Pema Chodron

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Compassion starts with making friends with ourselves. — Pema Chodron

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Allow situations in your life to become your teacher. — Pema Chodron

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However, years and years of going to the left or right, going to yes or no, going to right or wrong has never really changed anything. Scrambling for security has never brought anything but momentary joy. It's like changing the position of our legs in meditation. Our legs hurt from sitting cross-legged, so we move them. And then we feel, "Phew! What a relief!" But two and a half minutes later, we want to move them again. We keep moving around seeking pleasure, seeking comfort, and the satisfaction that we get is very short-lived. — Pema Chodron

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Take three conscious breaths. Just pause. Let it be a contrast to being all caught up. Let it be like popping a bubble. Let it be just a moment in time, and then go on. Maybe you are on your way to whatever you need to do for the day. You are in your car, or on the bus, or standing in line. But you can still create that gap by taking three conscious breaths and being right there with the immediacy of your experience, right there with whatever you are seeing, with whatever you are doing, with whatever you are feeling. — Pema Chodron

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Even though peak experiences might show us the truth and inform us about why we are training, they are essentially no big deal. If we can't integrate them into the ups and downs of our lives, if we cling to them, they will hinder us. We can trust our experiences as valid, but then we have to move on and learn how to get along with our neighbors. Then even the most remarkable insights can begin to permeate our lives. As the twelfth-century Tibetian yogi Milarepa said when he heard of his student Gampopa's peak experiences, 'They are neither good not bad. Keep meditation.' — Pema Chodron

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We think we'd be delighted to have an unconditional relationship, but that's only as long as it's on our own terms. — Pema Chodron

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Only in an open, nonjudgmental space can we acknowledge what we are feeling. Only in an open space where we're not all caught up in our own version of reality can we see and hear and feel who others really are, which allows us to be with them and communicate with them properly. — Pema Chodron

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This is a good time to remember that when we harden our heart against anyone, we hurt ourselves. The fear habit, the anger habit, the self-pity habit - all are strengthened and empowered when we continue to buy into them. The most compassionate thing we can do is to interrupt these habits. Instead of always pulling back and putting up walls, we can do something unpredictable and make a compassionate aspiration. We can visualize this difficult person's face and say his name if it helps us. Then we say the words: "May this person who irritates me be free of suffering and the roots of suffering." By doing this, we start to dissolve our fear. — Pema Chodron

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PATIENCE is the antidote to anger, a way to learn to love and care for whatever we meet on the path. — Pema Chodron

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You breathe in so that you can really understand what the Buddha meant when he said that the first noble truth is that life is suffering. What does that mean? With every in-breath, you try to find out by acknowledging the truth of suffering, not as a mistake you made, not as a punishment, but as part of the human condition. With every in-breath, you explore the discomfort of the human condition, which can be acknowledged and celebrated and not run away from. Tonglen — Pema Chodron

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Even when our neurosis feels far more basic than our wisdom, even when we're feeling most confused and hopeless, bodhichitta - like the open sky - is always here, undiminished by the clouds that temporarily cover it. — Pema Chodron

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Since death is certain and the time of death is uncertain, what is the most important thing? — Pema Chodron

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It's even difficult to hear that what we reject out there is what we reject in ourselves, and what we reject in ourselves is what we are going to reject out there. — Pema Chodron

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You might consider that you yourself are an arrogant person or you might consider that someone else is an arrogant person, but everybody who has ever felt even a moment of arrogance knows that arrogance is just a cover-up for really feeling that you're the worst horse, and always trying to prove otherwise. — Pema Chodron

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The biggest obstacle to taking a bigger perspective on life is that our emotions capture and blind us. — Pema Chodron

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You want it your own way. You'd just like to have a little peace; you'd like to have a little happiness, you know, just "gimme a break!" But the more you think that way, the more you try to get life to come out so that it will always suit you, the more your fear of other people and what's outside your room grows. — Pema Chodron

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Sitting meditation gives us a way to move closer to our thoughts and emotions and to get in touch with our bodies. — Pema Chodron

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Rather than going after our walls and barriers with a sledgehammer, we pay attention to them. With gentleness and honesty, we move closer to those walls. We touch them and smell them and get to know them well. We begin a process of acknowledging our aversions and our cravings. We become familiar with the strategies and beliefs we use to build the walls: What are the stories I tell myself? What repels me and what attracts me? We start to get curious about what's going on. — Pema Chodron

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We're afraid that this anger or sorrow or loneliness is going to last forever ... Instead, acting it out is what makes it last. — Pema Chodron

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Resentment, bitterness, and holding a grudge prevent us from seeing and hearing and tasting and delighting. — Pema Chodron

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Each day, we're given many opportunities to open up or shut down. The most precious opportunity presents itself when we come to the place where we think we can't handle whatever is happening. It's too much. It's gone too far. We feel bad about ourselves. There's no way we can manipulate the situation to make ourselves come out looking good. No matter how hard we try, it just won't work. Basically, life has just nailed us. — Pema Chodron

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Right down there in the thick of things, we discover the love that will not die. — Pema Chodron

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LIFE'S work is to wake up, to let the things that enter into your life wake you up rather than put you to sleep. The only way to do this is to open, be curious, and develop some sense of sympathy for everything that comes along, to get to know its nature and let it teach you what it will. — Pema Chodron

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Every day is a new opportunity to work with what you have inside toward enlightenment. — Pema Chodron

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Noticing how we try to avoid it is a way to get in touch with basic groundlessness. Refraining - not habitually acting out impulsively - has something to do with giving up entertainment mentality. Through refraining, we see that there's something between the arising of the craving - or the aggression or the loneliness or whatever it might be - and whatever action we take as a result. There's something there in us that we don't want to experience, and we never do experience, because we're so quick to act. — Pema Chodron

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MY teacher Trungpa Rinpoche encouraged us to lead our lives as an experiment, a suggestion that has been very important to me. — Pema Chodron

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Seeing when you justify yourself and when you blame others is not a reason to criticize yourself, but actually an opportunity to recognize what all people do and how it imprisons us in a very limited perspective of this world. — Pema Chodron

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Meditation is a totally nonviolent, nonaggressive occupation. — Pema Chodron

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... feelings like disappointment, embarrassment, irritation, resentment, anger, jealousy, and fear, instead of being bad news, are actually very clear moments that teach us where it is that we're holding back. They teach us to perk up and lean in when we feel we'd rather collapse and back away. They're like messengers that show us, with terrifying clarity, exactly where we're stuck. This very moment is the perfect teacher, and, lucky for us, it's with us wherever we are. — Pema Chodron

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Meditation is not about getting out of ourselves or achieving something better. It is about getting in touch with what you already are. — Pema Chodron

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An emotion like anger that's an automatic response lasts just ninety seconds from the moment it's triggered until it runs its course. One and a half minutes, that's all. When it lasts any longer, which it usually does, it's because we've chosen to rekindle it. — Pema Chodron

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The next time you encounter fear, consider yourself lucky. This is where the courage comes in. Usually we think that brave people have no fear. The truth is that they are intimate with fear. When I was first married, my husband said I was one of the bravest people he knew. When I asked him why, he said because I was a complete coward but went ahead and did things anyhow. — Pema Chodron

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Times are difficult globally; awakening is no longer a luxury or an ideal. It's becoming critical. We don't need to add more depression, more discouragement, or more anger to what's already here. It's becoming essential that we learn how to relate sanely with difficult times. The earth seems to be beseeching us to connect with joy and discover our innermost essence. This is the best way that we can benefit others. — Pema Chodron

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THE way to dissolve our resistance to life is to meet it face-to-face. — Pema Chodron

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A warrior accepts that we can never know what will happen to us next. — Pema Chodron

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The mind is always seeking zones of safety, and these zones of safety are continually falling apart. Then we scramble to get another zone of safety back together again. We spend all our energy and waste our lives trying to re-create these zones of safety, which are always falling apart. That's samsara. The — Pema Chodron

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People get into a heavy-duty sin and guilt trip, feeling that if things are going wrong, that means that they did something bad and they are being punished. That's not the idea at all. The idea of karma is that you continually get the teachings that you need to open your heart. To the degree that you didn't understand in the past how to stop protecting your soft spot, how to stop armoring your heart, you're given this gift of teachings in the form of your life, to give you everything you need to open further. — Pema Chodron

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When we sit down to meditate, we connect with something unconditional - a state of mind, a basic environment that does not grasp or reject anything. Meditation is probably the only activity that doesn't add anything to the picture. Everything is allowed to come and go without further embellishment. Meditation is a totally nonviolent, non aggressive occupation. Not filling the space, allowing for the possibility of connecting with unconditional openness - this provides the basis for real change. — Pema Chodron

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Meditation is a process of lightening up, of trusting the basic goodness of what we have and who we are, and of realizing that any wisdom that exists, exists in what we already have. — Pema Chodron

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Just pausing for two to three breaths is a perfect way to stay present. This is a good use of our life. Indeed, it is an excellent, joyful use of our life. Instead of getting better and better at avoiding, we can learn to accept the present moment as if we had invited it, and work with it instead of against it, making it our ally rather than our enemy. — Pema Chodron

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My moods are continuously shifting like the weather. — Pema Chodron

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In sitting meditation, we train in mindfulness and unconditional friendliness: in being steadfast with our bodies, our emotions, our thoughts. — Pema Chodron

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The only reason we don't open our hearts and minds to other people is that they trigger confusion in us that we don't feel brave enough or sane enough to deal with. To the degree that we look clearly and compassionately at ourselves, we feel confident and fearless about looking into someone else's eyes. — Pema Chodron

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Meditation practice is how we discover basic goodness and learn to cultivate bodhichitta. With this view, practice, and activity, even the most mundane situation becomes a vehicle for awakening. — Pema Chodron

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Tonglen means "taking in and sending out". This meditation practice is designed to help ordinary people like ourselves connect with the openness and softness of our hearts. Instead of shielding and protecting our soft spot, with tonglen we could let ourselves feel what it is to be human. — Pema Chodron

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At some point, we realize that what we do for ourselves benefits others, and what we do for others benefits us. — Pema Chodron

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Every small problem most likely stems from the same root as large problems, and so there is no need to always go deep. One can use anything for the therapeutic process and/if this link is made. — Pema Chodron

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The Buddha taught that flexibility and openness bring strength and that running from groundlessness weakens us and brings pain. But do we understand that becoming familiar with the running away is the key? Openness doesn't come from resisting our fears but from getting to know them well — Pema Chodron

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The happiness we seek cannot be found through grasping, trying to hold on to things. It cannot be found through getting serious and uptight about wanting things to go in the direction we think will bring happiness. We are always taking hold of the wrong end of the stick. The point is that the happiness we seek is already here and it will be found through relaxation and letting go rather than through struggle. — Pema Chodron

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We habitually erect a barrier called blame that keeps us from communicating genuinely with others, and we fortify it with our concepts of who's right and who's wrong. We do that with the people who are closest to us and we do it with political systems, with all kinds of things that we don't like about our associates or our society.
It is a very common, ancient, well-perfected device for trying to feel better. Blame others ... Blaming is a way to protect your heart, trying to protect what is soft and open and tender in yourself. Rather than own that pain, we scramble to find some comfortable ground. — Pema Chodron

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Our wisdom is all mixed up with what we call our neurosis. Our brilliance, our juiciness, our spiciness, is all mixed up with our craziness and our confusion, and therefore it doesn't do any good to try to get rid of our so-called negative aspects, because in that process we also get rid of our basic wonderfulness. We can lead our life so as to become more awake to who we are and what we're doing rather than trying to improve or change or get rid of who we are or what we're doing. The key is to wake up, to become more alert, more inquisitive and curious about ourselves. — Pema Chodron

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The calligraphy reads, "Pointing directly at your own heart, you find Buddha." Listening to talks about the dharma, or the teachings of Buddha, or practicing meditation is nothing other than studying ourselves. — Pema Chodron

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Tonglen practice begins to dissolve the illusion that each of us is alone with this personal suffering that no one else can understand. — Pema Chodron

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We are undoing a pattern ... It's the human pattern: we project onto the world a zillion possibilities of attaining resolution. — Pema Chodron

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We're able to see how we run and hide and keep ourselves busy so that we never have to let our hearts be penetrated. — Pema Chodron

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Rather than letting our negativity get the better of us, we could acknowledge that right now we feel like a piece of shit and not be squeamish about taking a good look. — Pema Chodron

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We can put our whole heart into whatever we do; but if we freeze our attitude into for or against, we're setting ourselves up for stress. Instead, we could just go forward with curiosity, wondering where this experiment will lead. This kind of open-ended inquisitiveness captures the spirit of enthusiasm, or heroic perseverance. — Pema Chodron

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Generosity is an activity that loosens us up. By offering whatever we can - a dollar, a flower, a word of encouragement - we are training in letting go. — Pema Chodron

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The more we witness our emotional reactions and understand how they work, the easier it is to refrain. — Pema Chodron

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The principle of nowness is very important to any effort to establish an enlightened society. — Pema Chodron

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When you open yourself to the continually changing, impermanent, dynamic nature of your own being and of reality, you increase your capacity to love and care about other people and your capacity to not be afraid. You're able to keep your eyes open, your heart open, and your mind open. And you notice when you get caught up in prejudice, bias, and aggression. You develop an enthusiasm for no longer watering those negative seeds, from now until the day you die. And, you begin to think of your life as offering endless opportunities to start to do things differently. — Pema Chodron