Monday, June 28, 2010

Pema and Pema

I've decided that I'm going to change my name to Pema and then I could call this blog, "Pema and Pema."  And then a spiritually enlightened producer would option it for a film and Meryl Street could play both Pema Chodron and me!  Wouldn't that be perfect?

Seriously, I do find that when I'm feeling at my lowest, reading Pema's writings always seems to lift me up.  This is from "Practicing Peace in Times of War"...

"Difficulty is inevitable

On a very basic level all beings think that they should be happy.  When life becomes difficult or painful, we feel that something has gone wrong.  According to the Buddhist teachings, difficulty is inevitable in human life.  For one thing, we cannot escape the realities of death.  But there are also the realities of aging, of illness, of not getting what we want, and of getting what we don't want.  These kinds of difficulties are facts of life.  Even if you were the Buddha himself, if you were a fully enlightened person, you would experience death, illness, aging, and sorrow at losing what you love.  All of these things would happen to you.  If you got burned or cut, it would hurt.

But the Buddhist teachings also say that this is not really what causes us misery in our lives.  What causes misery is always trying to get away from the facts of life, always trying to avoid pain and seek happiness -- this sense of ours that there could be lasting security and happiness available to us if we could only do the right thing.  

It is so basic in us to feel that things should go well for us, and that if we start to feel depressed, lonely, or inadequate, there's been some kind of mistake or we've lost it.  In reality, when you feel depressed, lonely, betrayed, or any unwanted feelings, this is an important moment on the spiritual path.  This is when real transformation takes place."

Okay, I would rather be transformed by winning the lottery or writing a best-selling book, but if Pema says this is the way to go, I'll have to trust her.  She's never steered me wrong.  I do find that my morning meditation is one of the highlights of my day and that going through some of the depression, does give you a sense of strength, of being able to handle life.  

This morning a dear friend of mine called and we talked about her daughter, who has been through a very rough medical procedure and slow recovery.  We both cried and talked about how deeply we love our daughters and how painful it is to see them suffer any difficulty.  Asking for help, remembering to be grateful for all the blessings in our life and knowing that although this is a challenging time, we are literally transforming into spiritually enlightened beings helps.

One question: is there a money back guarantee with this, Pema?


Zen Mama said...

I was thinking about writing you today and there you are, writing something to me in the form of your blog! Would you consider Pema your guru? If not, I'm wondering if you have a guru. You are always talking about lectures and books and retreats so I'm just curious.

I'm planning to take this weekend off from the world and use it to read and meditate. This will be new for me so any ideas would be great. Books, meditations, etc.

BTW, I would so love to read the book and see the Pema and Pema movie!

Robin Amos Kahn said...

I wouldn't say that I have a guru, but I definitely have learned a lot from Pema Chodron's writings. I started with "The Wisdom of No Escape" about six years ago and it saved me during a very difficult time. And recently, dealing with divorce and grief, "When Things Fall Apart" was one of the first books I picked up to re-read. There are so many good books, including Eckhart Tolle's "A New Earth" and I also love Melody Beattie's book "The Language of Letting Go."

I know there are several other Buddhist writers I have yet to read and I would like to get around to reading them soon. Ram Dass is also a favorite and Cy O'Neal's book "Talk Softly" is a fantastic book about loss. She is probably one of the people I've learned the most from over the past few years. The book is all about Friends In Deed and about her amazing life. I guess I just love books!

I'm going to write in the next blog post about the book that has helped me the most through this divorce, "Crazy Time" by Abigail Trafford. And someday, I hope I can get back to reading some more novels, I miss reading them.