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
"Marked by an unpretentious wisdom."— Boston Globe
"Compiles short, inspirational readings for daily contemplation or sustained study."— Publishers Weekly