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Showing 1-10 of 802 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 987 reviews
on April 24, 2016
This book’s title caught my eye at a time when I felt like things were falling apart for me. I’ve long been open to the teachings of Buddhism and so I thought I might find some insight, even comfort, in Ms Chodron’s words.

And I did, but this is not a “hand-holding,” “feel good” book. It’s blunt in its view of life as, I suppose, Buddhism tends to be. The feel of the whole was, to me, “suck it up and soldier on.” But do so with the insights of Buddhism and an enlightened point-of-view. And so when facing one of those inevitable times when we are losing it all, we can find an understanding of what we’re feeling when Ms Chodron says:

"We react against the possibility of loneliness, of death, of not having anything to hold on to. Fear is a natural reaction to moving closer to the truth."

She illustrates this by describing a pivotal moment in her life when things fell apart. In her youth, her husband left her and she felt that loss of her whole world with anger and fear. But out of that experience she found Buddhism, a new life and a new vocation. She eventually became thankful for the experience, and that is a major theme of the book—the idea that life is all beginnings and endings. If we can understand that, and accept it, we can go a long way in coping with the bad times.

Fear is what we’re trying to cope with in those bad times. As she stated in the above quote, we are afraid of loneliness, death, and aimlessness. She asks us to understand that at the start of the book, and then goes on to offer insight to help us deal with it. She states what her whole book is about when she says:

"What we’re talking about is getting to know fear, becoming familiar with fear, looking it right in the eye—not as a way to solve problems, but as a complete undoing of old ways of seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, and thinking."

I could go on and on with such quotes—there are so many quotable passages in this book. Also ideas that have helped me. Such as that things are just not what we think they are; we really don’t know anything and so we must be careful in our judgments, even judgments as to what is good and what is bad (see chapter 1). Because we never know how things will turn out.

When in emotional pain, people tend to return to those places they’ve found comfort in the past. There are times, though, when those places fail us, or don’t offer enough comfort. If you’re at such a place, then this book might be of help. It is likely to be, if you can understand and accept the basic cause of our unhappiness according to Buddhism. Ms Chodron states it as:

"Thinking that we can find some lasting pleasure and avoid pain is what in Buddhism is called samsara, a hopeless cycle that goes round and round endlessly and causes us to suffer greatly."

From there, you can go on to find out what you can do in your life to address samsara. And if you can find, ironically, that chasing happiness does not bring happiness, and running from pain does not eliminate pain, then you’ll be at a point where this book can help.
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on September 15, 2017
This book encouraged me to make some very positive changes in my life. However, I felt like halfway through the book, Pema forgot about the topic or ran out of content and focused on meditation for the last half. I was so disappointed. There were sections in the first few chapters that I underlined, but then I skimmed the last half.
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on July 28, 2016
One of the most helpful books that I have ever read. It does not seem like a self help book at all. It really helped me change my perspective. Not only did it help me get through a really tough time, but it helped me learn to use those hard moments to grow and thrive. I highly recommend!
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on April 30, 2017
Never have I read a spiritual book with such compassion and humour and love. These teachings spoke to me in a way I believe will never leave me. If you are beginning to awake take this beautiful book with you.
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on January 1, 2015
An amazing book. Pema Chodron explains how, when our life seemingly falls apart, we look for distractions. Through obsessive thinking or habitual blaming of others, we seek to avoid emotional pain. She explains how we need to sit with this pain; to become intimate with it and to have compassion with ourselves. Only then can we heal our pain. Only then can we experience our true selves. After reading this book, I gained a clearer understanding of myself and my spiritual journey.
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on July 31, 2016
Pema Chodron has helped me realize that the habits developed over a lifetime to escape pain have caused me more unhappiness. I can become a happier person by facing difficult times and learning to be a more compassionate person without falling back on old habits.
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on January 22, 2015
If you are ready to see yourself, look deeply at the truth of who you are and learn to experience your individual reality with the desire lfor oving change this book is the road map. This American raised Buddist nun brings the amazing life transformation teachings of Buddism to the western mind in a practical and understandable format. She understands the shame, blame, and self deprecation the pervades the western psyche and she speaks directly to these issues.
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on June 27, 2017
still reading as I go through divorce. Pema just knows the right words
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on August 27, 2015
For me, this was brilliant book at the perfect time in my life. After 8 years of studying and practicing Buddhism, Pema really clarified many areas of confusion for me. And her practices tips serve me well. Her writing style is compelling making me reread sections over and over to discover gems.

I do have a warning. Unless you are a practitioner of Buddhism, much of this book may be extremely hard if not impossible to grasp some key points. This is heavy reading and a book I will read and practice over and over.
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on August 21, 2017
Was soothing read during hard times and a skillset to remember for those hard times that are sure to come.
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