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Start Where You Are: A Guide to Compassionate Living (Shambhala Classics) Paperback – August 21, 2001
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"Pragmatic and to the point, Pema Chödrön cuts to the very heart of practice, right to the tender pink spot we want to cover over and keep safe. In the context of being kind to ourselves, Start Where You Are shows how our greatest asset is our own vulnerability that we so desperately protect. Pema Chödrön guides us to the understanding that, rather than hiding from or resisting the pain of our existence, we can learn to relax with the situation just as it is."— Tantra magazine
"Pema Chödrön uses modern Western idiom and lyrical language to bring to life ancient Buddhist Wisdom. She weaves a poetic tapestry which invites the reader onto a path of compassionate living which is both new and familiar."—Loch Kelly, M. Div., C.S.W.
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 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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My initial thoughts are that this book could be summed appropriately with the philosophy "Don't sweat the small stuff. And don't sweat the big stuff either. In fact, don't sweat at all."
Equally though, it also counsels not to get overly ecstatic or confident when things go your way.
The key seems to be not to let hurdles, obstacles or setbacks get you too down for too long. Equally, to not let successes think you cannot fail. Be calm and mild, either way.
So, wherever you are, at any time, start from there, taking a middle path of not too much fear or sadness as well as not too much confidence and elation. After all, all feelings and situations are temporary.
I'm glad I read it and look forward to having time to read it again slowly and contemplatively.
I picked this book after reading Eckart Tolle's New Earth. Pema Chodron speaks to many of the same issues from a little different perspective that, while perhaps more religious, seems clearer to me; more understandable. At the same time, I also think it's possible that many of us need to read both perspectives to gain a better understanding.
I was attracted to this book by the title. Being able to Start Where You Are was an empowering notion. It was the idea that I don't need to wait till I (grow up, finish school, lose weight, get married, get divorced, get a job, retire) to (develop spiritually, be happy, find peace). Most particularly I don't need to stop suffering to be happy, or start my journey. Instead, I can use my suffering to facilitate my development & growth. The CD version is true to all of these ideas.