Quote Archives: Pema Chödron

Become Familiar with Fear ~ Pema Chödron

No one ever tells us to stop running away from fear. We are very rarely told to move closer, to just be there, to become familiar with fear. I once asked the Zen master Kobun Chino Roshi how he related with fear, and he said, “I agree. I agree.” But the advice we usually get […]

Negativity begets negativity ~ Pema Chödron

We can rightly say that the thinning of the ozone layer is a scientific fact; it’s not simply an opinion. But if the way we work with trying not to further harm the ozone layer is to solidify our opinion against those we feel are at fault, then nothing ever changes; negativity begets negativity. In […]

The possibility of being able to expand ~ Pema Chödron

There’s no problem with being where you are right now. Even if you feel loving-kindness and compassion for only one sentient being, that is a good place to start. Simply acknowledging, respecting, and appreciating the warmth is a way to encourage its growth. We can be where we are and at the same time leave […]

The queasy feeling of being in the middle of nowhere ~ Pema Chödron

Anxiety, heartbreak, and tenderness mark the in-between state. It’s the kind of place we usually want to avoid. The challenge is to stay in the middle rather than buy into struggle and complaint. The challenge is to let it soften us rather than make us more rigid and afraid. Becoming intimate with the queasy feeling […]

Stopping to reify our experiences ~ Pema Chödron

None of us wants to be miserable; we all want to be happy. But we can’t achieve this aim if we stay stuck in biased, narrow-minded thinking. No matter how much we long for joy, it will elude us if we continue buying into concepts of right and wrong, good and bad, acceptance and rejection. […]

A fertile ground for training in being open minded ~ Pema Chödron

We are at a time when old systems and ideas are being questioned and falling apart, and there is a great opportunity for something fresh to emerge. The time we live in is a fertile ground for training in being open minded and open-hearted. Pema Chödron

Nothing solid is really happening ~ Pema Chödron

Whatever you experience in your life – pain, pleasure, heat, cold, or anything else – is like something happening in a dream. Although you might think things are very solid, they are like passing memory. You can experience this open, unfixated quality in sitting meditation: All that arises in your mind – hate, love, and […]

A Sense of Wonder ~ Pema Chödron

The ground of loving-kindness is this sense of satisfaction with who we are and what we have. The path is a sense of wonder, becoming a two- or three-year-old child again, wanting to know all the unknowable things, beginning to question everything. We know we’re never really going to find the answers, because these kinds […]

Room for not knowing ~ Pema Chödron

When we think that something is going to bring us pleasure, we don’t know what’s really going to happen. When we think something is going to give us misery, we don’t know. Letting there be room for not knowing is the most important thing of all. We try to do what we think is going […]

The challenge of now ~ Pema Chödron

Our life’s work is to use what we have been given to wake up. If there were two people who were exactly the same — same body, same speech, same mind, same mother, same father, same house, same food, everything the same — one of them could use what he has to wake up and […]

Undoing of old ways of seeing ~ Pema Chödron

What we’re talking about is getting to know fear, becoming familiar with fear, looking it right in the eye — not as a way to solve problems, but as a complete undoing of old ways of seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, and thinking. The truth is that when we really begin to do this, we’re going […]

Cultivating Peace ~ Pema Chödron

When we hold on to our opinions with aggression, no matter how valid our cause, we are simply adding more aggression to the planet, and violence and pain increase. Cultivating nonaggression is cultivating peace. The way to stop the war is to stop hating the enemy. It starts with seeing our opinions of ourselves and […]

Unbiased Spaciousness ~ Pema Chödron

Things happen to us all the time that open up the space. This spaciousness, this wide-open, unbiased, unprejudiced space is inexpressible and fundamentally good and sound. It’s like the sky. Whenever you’re in a hot spot or feeling uncomfortable, whenever you’re caught up and don’t know what to do, you can find someplace where you […]

Opening our hearts and minds beyond limit ~ Pema Chödron

Life is a good teacher and a good friend. Things are always in transition, if we could only realize it. Nothing ever sums itself up in the way that we like to dream about. The off-center, in-between state is an ideal situation, a situation in which we don’t get caught and we can open our […]

Holding a diversity party in our living room ~ Pema Chödron

The commitment to take care of one another is often described as a vow to invite all sentient beings to be our guest. The prospect can be daunting. It means that everyone will be coming to our house. It means opening our door to everyone, not just to the people we like or the ones […]

Groundlessness ~ Pema Chödron

Groundlessness, uncertainty, insecurity, vulnerability — these are words that ordinarily carry a negative connotation. We’re generally wary of these feelings and try to elude them in any way possible. But groundlessness isn’t something we need to avoid. The same feeling we find so troubling when we open to it can be experienced as a huge […]

Observe the Moment ~ Pema Chödron

One practice that I especially like is taking mental snapshots. You can begin by closing your eyes. Then turn your head in any direction — up, down, sideways. It doesn’t matter which way. The idea is that you’re not exactly sure what you’ll see when you open your eyes. Then, abruptly open your eyes and […]

Pain and pleasure go together ~ Pema Chödron

Who ever got the idea that we could have pleasure without pain? It’s promoted rather widely in this world, and we buy it. But pain and pleasure go together; they are inseparable. They can be celebrated. They are ordinary. Pema Chödron

Showing us where we are asleep~ Pema Chödron

Everything that occurs is not only usable and workable but is actually the path itself. We can use everything that happens to us as the means for waking up. We can use everything that occurs — whether it’s our conflicting emotions and thoughts or our seemingly outer situation — to show us where we are […]

Unshakable tenderness ~ Pema Chödron

I’ve known many people who have spent years exercising daily, getting massages, doing yoga, faithfully following one food or vitamin regimen after another, pursuing spiritual teachers and different styles of meditation, all in the name of taking care of themselves. Then something bad happens to them and all those years don’t seem to have added […]