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Comfortable with Uncertainty: 108 Teachings on Cultivating Fearlessness and Compassion [Kindle Edition]

Pema Chodron
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (81 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Thisbook offers short, stand-alone readings designed to help us cultivatecompassion and awareness amid the challenges of daily living. More than acollection of thoughts for the day, Comfortablewith Uncertaintyoffers a progressive program of spiritual study, leading the reader throughessential concepts, themes, and practices on the Buddhist path.

Comfortablewith Uncertainty doesnot assume prior knowledge of Buddhist thought or practice, making it a perfectintroduction to Chödrön's teaching. It features the most essentialand stirring passages from Chödrön's previous books, exploring topicssuch as lovingkindness, meditation, mindfulness, "nowness," lettinggo, and working with fear and other painful emotions. Through the course ofthis book, readers will learn practical methods for heightening awareness andovercoming habitual patterns that block compassion.

Editorial Reviews Review

Comfortable with Uncertainty reads like a perfect companion guide to the traditional 108-day Buddhist retreat. In a day-by-day format, author Pema Chödrön dives into the soothing wisdom of Tibetan Buddhism, reminding us that groundlessness is the only ground we have to stand on. Each of her 108 teachings are brief (about two pages), and all of them are excerpted from longer discussions in Chödrön's previous bestselling books (The Places That Scare You and When Things Fall Apart). Nonetheless, newcomers as well as seasoned fans of Chödrön's writing will glean much from this training program for becoming a "warrior bodhisattva"--a term which, simply put, means one who aspires to act from an awakened heart.

Gradually, Chödrön guides readers beyond the tunnel vision of the self, expanding outward to include compassion for all of humanity. In the 12th teaching, "The Root of Suffering," Chödrön writes: "What keeps us unhappy and stuck in a limited view of reality is our tendency to seek pleasure and avoid pain, to seek security and avoid groundlessness, to seek comfort and avoid discomfort." In the 77th teaching, "Cool Loneliness," she suggests that the next time readers wake up in the morning feeling the "heartache of alienation" they try to "relax and touch the limitless space of the human heart." By the 101st teaching, Chödrön speaks to "taking refuge in the Sangha," meaning becoming warriors who are not only committed to taking off their own armors of self-pity, but are also committed to gently helping others do the same. Student warriors will also appreciate the glossary, bibliography, and resource guide in the back. --Gail Hudson


“Gently, conversationally, and with humor, Comfortable with Uncertainty offers strategies for seeing and thinking differently. For many people the approach is nothing less than transformational.”—Boston Globe

Product Details

  • File Size: 253 KB
  • Print Length: 242 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1590300785
  • Publisher: Shambhala Publications (September 14, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0041VYNWK
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #269,026 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
87 of 89 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A book for everyone March 30, 2005
You either can read this book from beginning to end using it as a meditation guide for the warrior meditator, or you can drop into it and see what you get; also good.

It is unfailingly wise and compassionate in it's approach which is that meditation is not the path up the mountain but the path down into yourself and that accepting yourself as you are is what is important and difficult. This requires courage. The current ideas of changing yourself or self-improvement are yet another subtle attack on yourself.

The ironic miracle, of course, is that abandoning goals of self-improvement and accepting yourself leads to change, and you become someone you like better whether you like it or not.

Underneath all our fear of ourselves, way down deep, we find find our "wounded, softened hearts" and we discover that we, all of us, are compassionate loving beings. Now isn't that a hope for the world?

If you think this might be a good idea, then this book is a wonderful guide. It is not an answer, but it is a gentle helping hand along The Way.
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82 of 86 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This small book contains 108 short chapters taken from Pema's four main/prior books (The Wisdom of No Escape, Start Where You Are, The Places that Scare You, When Things Fall Apart). It includes her signature stories such as pp. 40-2: the 4 Maras-"turning arrows into flowers", pp. 61-2: the teaching of heaven & hell to a samurai, p. 103: the empty boat, p. 111: lions and the strawberry, and p. 115: the Demon of Now in the cave. It also some fine quotes such as: p. 25: "Resisting Life causes suffering," p. 62: "Only with equanimity can we see that everything that comes into our circle [of sacred space] has come to teach us what we need to know," and p. 91: "We cannot be in the present moment and run our story lines at the same time." Perhaps best of all, it addresses not only on-the-spot Tonglen but also on-the-spot compassion and equanimity. So, reading it may provide you with on-the-spot joy!
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44 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful tool for self growth and discovery February 24, 2003
By A Customer
I write this review because I think the other reviews herein did not do justice to this exquiste gem of Buddhist teaching. Ms Chodorn is eloquent and articulate in her delivery of helpful insights into the human condition and gentle and simple in her understanding of what may restore balance. The book can be read piecemeal or from beginning to end. The glossary offers edification on Buddhist Sanskrit meanings, which I found helpful, since I am a beginner to Buddhism and not a student of Sanskrit. This book offers a path of healing and wholeness. To see it without this meaning is to miss the point. I have recommended it to many people, beginners and scholars of Buddhism alike. Without exception the book was well received. Buy the book -- forget the audiobook. This is one book you will want to hold and leaf through the pages. I would give it much more than a five star rating were it possible.
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30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
I think this is a great book with many good strategies to use to help you live your life in a more mature and fulfilling way.The emphasis is on living fully in the moment and not letting yourself be caught up in the kind of thinking that distracts and causes anxiety. It recommends ways to stop using so many of the avoidance techniques that so many of us employ to keep from dealing with painful thoughts and situations. This book contains step-by-step instructions on how to meditate for insight and its calming and slowing effects.
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61 of 66 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good content, bad reader December 18, 2002
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Pema Chodron is one of my favorite Buddhist authors. She has a way of articulating subtle ideas that really resonates with me. I bought this book and enjoyed it, although much of the content was familiar from her previous books. I picked up the cassette version of the book to listen to while driving, and I didn't make it halfway through the first side of the first tape. The reader's overly emotive, breathy narration is grating. I thought I'd get used to it and focus more on the text, but it didn't happen. This is the same reader who did the audio version of "The Places That Scare You," which was equally unlistenable. It is a shame that the publisher, who coincidentally is also the reader, can't recognize the great gulf between her work and the author's. Can you say "ego"?
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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Bypass the Audio, Buy the Book! November 7, 2002
By Micaela
Pema Chodron is a wonderful, down-to-earth Buddhist nun, who lovingly challenges us to become present and compassionate warriors. She is one of my best, most treasured teachers.
I like to pop a tape or CD in and listen while I sit or drive, so I got the CD version of Pema Chodron's "Comfortable With Uncertainty." I assumed it would be Pema reading her work, but the reader is actually Tami Simon. Unfortunately, the reader has a self-consciously "soothing" vocal presentation, and she misses many opportunities to be present in the words she reads. My advice to you road warriors, is to get off the highway, and hunker down to savor Pema's written words. They're jewels.
5 stars for the book, 3 stars for the audio.
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35 of 38 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Audio edition disappointing December 2, 2002
Format:Audio Cassette
Five stars for the content, two stars for the "performance". The reader of this Sounds True audio edition is also the founder of Sounds True. She is senstitive to the material but her delivery is overly soft and gentle and so I had trouble keeping my attention on what she was saying. I've listened to other Pema Chodron tapes in her own voice. Pema is a wonderful speaker, very direct, humourous, warm but not "soft". Like the previous reviewer, I recommend buying the book over the audio edition.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic, love it
I love the way you can flip to any page and find exactly what you need in that moment. Beautiful lessons and written lovely, as always.
Published 1 month ago by Kira Svirsky
5.0 out of 5 stars Liberating
When emotionally stressed about family issues ( I'm a bit codependent) this book was my savior. It makes a person realize they can't fix everything and really helps with the... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Jan McKeachie johnston
5.0 out of 5 stars One of my favorite books!
I bought this book many years ago when one of my favorite yoga teachers read from this book after teaching a class. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Henna
5.0 out of 5 stars Life-Changing Book
This book changed my life. A friend sent it in the mail to me -- out of the blue-- in 2007. It is both an excellent primer on handling the uncertainties of change and for Buddhism. Read more
Published 1 month ago by John White
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely awesome
This woman writer is amazing. I love her writings and continue to re-read this book. Her life lessons are something we all should consider.
Published 3 months ago by Rheeah
5.0 out of 5 stars One thousand stars
I am on my third reading of this book understanding and absorbing more with each reading. 108 gems for daily meditations. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Scotty and Dawn Scott
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring
I think this is my new favorite book on mindful living, each of the teachings are short and meaningful which makes them great to just re-read from time to time, which I most... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Linnca Kitt
5.0 out of 5 stars "Used" is worthy of a great discount,and is gratefully appreciated in...
Comfortable with Uncertainty: 108 Teachings on Cultivating Fearlessness and...
Pema Chodron Audio book on CD-I love this book and author,these arrived quickly,in sealed... Read more
Published 4 months ago by CAT
4.0 out of 5 stars A super Pema Chodrun book.
I have read many of Chodrun's books and this one is also extremely enjoyable. It has one page selections from her writings that are great for starting a day. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Elizabeth A. Salisbury
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Book
Awesome book, Easy reading and wonderful insights! I am thinking of getting all my friends copies for Christmas! Love this author! This little book will make you think!
Published 6 months ago by Roberta Wojcik
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More About the Author

Pema Chödrön is an American Buddhist nun in the lineage of Chögyam Trungpa. She is resident teacher at Gampo Abbey in Nova Scotia, the first Tibetan monastery in North America established for Westerners. She is also the author of many books and audiobooks, including the best-selling When Things Fall Apart and Don't Bite the Hook.

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