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The Places That Scare You

Pema Chödrön's book The Places That Scare You begins with a bang on page 1 with the lovely goal: ... to be open, flexible, and kind. And a few pages later, there's a list of beautiful practices: ... meditation, loving-kindness, compassion, joy, and equanimity ....

But alas, those gems are soon lost in a sea of jargon and doctrine. Chödrön insists on using the distracting metaphor (oxymoron?) of "compassionate warrior" for the student of awareness. It doesn't much work. She drifts into anecdote and through parable. Maybe they convey the point better in person? An "Acknowledgements" section suggests that this book originated in a series of talks. And Chödrön thanks Charlotte Joko Beck and Ezra Bayda, as well as Sakyong Miphan for their helpful influences. That's wise, honest, and helpful.

And back to the gems — a sample suggestion, from near the end of Chapter 11 ("Enhancing the Training in Joy"):

Even the simplest of things can be the basis of this practice—a beautiful morning, a good meal, a shower. Although there are many such fleeting ordinary moments in our days, we usually speed right past them. We forget what joy they can bring. So the first step is to stop, notice, and appreciate what is happening. Even if this is all we do, it's revolutionary. ...

Sweet thought! — ... stop, notice, and appreciate. More sparkles to follow.

(cf. Chödrön's Practicing Peace in Times of War (2014-05-25) and excerpts from that book ...) - ^z - 2015-01-08