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Taking the Leap: Freeing Ourselves from Old Habits and Fears Hardcover – September 8, 2009


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Taking the Leap: Freeing Ourselves from Old Habits and Fears + Living Beautifully: with Uncertainty and Change + When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times (Shambhala Library)
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Shambhala; 1 edition (September 8, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590306341
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590306345
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.3 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (113 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #560,247 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This gently encouraging book by popular teacher Chödrön (When Things Fall Apart; The Places That Scare You) applies Buddhist wisdom to the problems of deeply ingrained reactions. An American Buddhist nun in the lineage of Tibetan master Chogyam Trungpa, she writes that we already have what we need to change and heal. Chödrön focuses on the preverbal moment—called shenpa in Tibetan—in which individuals are hooked into harmful stories, emotions and actions within the flux of their experiences. Clear descriptions of how this process works are accompanied by simple techniques to begin to break the cycle. Her suggestions can be easily practiced by anyone at any time without meditation training, although she presents the benefits of sitting meditation. With anecdotes from her teachers and examples from her own and others' lives, Chödrön demonstrates that people can stop their suffering and access their natural intelligence, warmth and openness. Throughout, she emphasizes the global implications of personal change. Among her strengths are compassion for the difficulty of human existence and her willingness to acknowledge her own failings. This short guide provides valuable tools for change in uncertain times. (Sept. 8)
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Review

“This gently encouraging book by popular teacher Chödrön applies Buddhist wisdom to the problems of deeply ingrained reactions. Among her strengths are compassion for the difficulty of human existence and her willingness to acknowledge her own failings. This short guide provides valuable tools for change in uncertain times.”—Publishers Weekly

 “Straightforward and personal, Taking the Leap is a fine addition to Chödrön’s work.”—BellaOnline.com

“You don’t have to be a Buddhist to benefit from reading Chödrön’s book, you just have to be willing to approach new ideas with an open mind.”—The Lindsay Post (Canada)

Taking the Leap seems to speak directly to the angst we are currently facing and she is spot on with her teachings.  Chödrön is effective not because she coddles the reader, but because we get the sense that she understands exactly what this pain feels like.”—LA Yoga

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.

Customer Reviews

I do enjoy reading Pema Chodron's books and find them truly inspiring and helpful.
Shirley Maya
This book helps you to look at yourself and learn how to catch the moments when you want to react to things that really might just need a thoughtful moment instead.
Health & wellness
If we can learn to simply accept the energies that arise in us, without judgment, we can explore them, and ultimately transmute them.
L. Erickson

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

248 of 250 people found the following review helpful By L. Erickson TOP 1000 REVIEWER on September 11, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I have long admired the writings of Pema Chodron, and I think she has done it again with this book. She excels at making teachings from the Vajrayana or Tantric Buddhist tradition of her root teacher Chogyam Trungpa accessible to anyone and relevant to daily life. In this book she presents teachings on 'shenpa', which is often translated as 'attachment' but which she suggests might better be understood as "what it feels like to get hooked." As she puts it:

"Somebody says a harsh word and something in you tightens: instantly you're hooked. That tightness quickly spirals into blaming the person or denigrating yourself. The chain reaction of speaking or acting or obsessing happens fast. Maybe if you have strong addictions, you go right for your addiction to cover over the uncomfortable feelings."

The focus of Taking the Leap is how we can learn to recognize when we are hooked, and how we can work with and transform the energy generated when this occurs. Instead of judging or battling within ourselves, we can learn to see each occurrence of shenpa as an opportunity - an opportunity for awakening. This process is about more than just our personal happiness, for shenpa is the source of bigotry and violence in our world. Ani Pema says:

"Each of us can be an active participant in creating a nonviolent future simply by how we work with shenpa when it arises. How individuals like you and I relate to being hooked, these days, has global implications."

The key to working with shenpa in a different way is to remain open and even curious about the energy that arises when we are 'hooked', instead of acting out or seeking to distract ourselves.
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136 of 143 people found the following review helpful By Kristin on February 21, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Pema Chodron is always superb, but this book is merely a compilation of some of her previous writings; in particular, it takes from her wonderful audio CD "Getting Unstuck." So why buy the condensed version when you can buy the real thing? Try "The Places That Scare You" or "When Things Fall Apart." These are rich, textured writings that you can read over and over. If you want a CD, I think "Getting Unstuck" is far and away her best.

On the other hand, if you like to keep things simple, this book might be just the thing.
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86 of 92 people found the following review helpful By JMazz on October 4, 2009
Format: Hardcover
This is another important book by Pema. I have heard the story of the two wolves before and always find it moving: A Native American grandfather and his grandson talk of two wolves fighting in our hearts, one is vengeful, hateful and angry, the other is kind, understanding and compassionate. The grandson asks "who will win the fight"? .... and grandfather answers "the one that we feed" . Clearly Pema's message is that we have a choice in how we live, we have a choice in which wolf we feed. We can honesty face what's happening in our lives "by looking compassionately and honestly at our own minds". Time to stop blaming others and look into our own habitual thoughts. Pema talks of "shempa" or "being hooked" similar to Tolle and the "pain body" and states "how we relate moment to moment is all there really is" . "Can we learn to drop those limiting story lines and narrow perspectives and see what is happening with new clarity, wisdom and compassion"? This book, and others by Pema, teach that this is day to day, hour by hour training. It doesn't end once we step off the meditation cushion -
I am a big fan of Pema and her teachings. I have had a couple of similar experiences she discusses in this book and undoubtedly that's made her someone I closely relate to. One being the death of her mother, for me it was the death of an Aunt. All these possessions we treasure .... will be just boxes of "stuff" to someone else one day. Similarly as Pema states, "all the labels, judgments, values, likes and dislikes we hold so tightly are - all much to do about nothing... and we suffer from it".
I highly recommend this book -
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32 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Springs Steele on October 22, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
While flowing from the Buddhist worldview, this deceptively simple text contains a practical formula for tapping into what the author calls our natural openness, natural warmth, and natural intelligence. As a practicing Catholic with deep familiarity with Buddhist theory and practice, a PhD in Theology, and four grandchildren, I found exceptionally helpful spiritual direction in the wise and warm words of Pema Chodron. She draws equally from a discipline of meditation that is as close to religiously neutral or 'portable' as possible, and a life filled with the vicissitudes that most of us face---marital struggles, care and concern for family, moral weakness and bad habits, illness, aging. What she offers is a simple, honest,jargon-free way to meet these challenges that works---regardless of one's religious or philosophical standpoint.
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33 of 37 people found the following review helpful By J. Chang on September 18, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Like the reviewer above, I have long admired Pema Chodron's books. She has the ability of using simple language to explain profound meanings of Buddhism. A lot of Buddhism books are poetic or translations which requires one's own interpretations and sometimes loses the precision. This is a short and kinda expensive book which focuses on the work of oneself, the first step to walk on the Buddha path. A general term of Buddhims like attachment is reworded to 'hooked' or 'stuck'. I like her views and writing from a western's point of view, a more mondern approach to the religion that is ancient. BTW, a person with some psychology background like me will find it very psychological and insightful. It writes about self blind spot, feeling for others begins with acceptance of ourselves without deception and etc! I love the fact that she's the author offers to a borader audience than just Buddhists. Congrats Pema! I am waiting for you next book already! May Buddha be with you!
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