The Places That Scare You
The Places That Scare You offers lifelong guidance for learning to change the way we relate to the scary and difficult moments of our lives, showing us how we can use all of our difficulties and fears as a way to soften our hearts and open us to greater kindness.
We always have a choice in how we react to the circumstances of our lives. We can let them harden us and make us increasingly resentful and afraid, or we can let them soften us and allow our inherent human kindness to shine through. In The Places That Scare You, Pema Chödrön provides essential tools for dealing with the many difficulties that life throws our way, teaching us how to awaken our basic human goodness and connect deeply with others—to accept ourselves and everything around us complete with faults and imperfections. She shows the strength that comes from staying in touch with what’s happening in our lives right now and helps us unmask the ways in which our egos cause us to resist life as it is. If we go to the places that scare us, Pema suggests, we just might find the boundless life we’ve always dreamed of.
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 Bruy
About the Author:
Pema Chodron is an American Buddhist nun in the lineage of ChogyamTrungpa and resident teacher at Gampo Abbey in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, the first Tibetan Buddhist monastery in North America. She is the author of numerous best-selling books, including When Things Fall Apart and Living Beautifully.