The Fearless Heart with Pema Chödrön
At this time of year, we are pleased to bring you this transcribed excerpt from Pema Chödrön's talk on "The Fearless Heart: The Practice of Living with Courage and Compassion." Ani Pema shares with us how we may begin to work with fear by not shutting down or running away, as is our first inclination, but by going into the fear.This morning I wanted to begin with a short teaching on working with emotions that comes from Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, and if you would like to write this down, the name of the teaching is “The Lion’s Roar” and it appears in the March 1997 edition of the Shambhala Sun, which had a picture of me on the cover. So maybe there is some way you can locate that article and read it.
This is a teaching that has influenced me a lot over the years, and I was re-reading the article last night and I thought that I would begin this morning with this instruction that comes from Trungpa Rinpoche. One of the opening sentences is that enlightenment is not just for pacifists, but it also means relating with energy, strong, intense, waves and waves of energy. So enlightenment is not just a peaceful experience as some of us may be wishing. It is not just the ultimate chill out, but it also means relating or rather being comfortable with or relaxing with or joining with waves and waves of energy. So needless to say, this is something that has had a great influence on me on my own practice and in my teaching.
So, even talking about abiding in the experience of discomfort, abiding in the experience of fear or any other kind of discomfort, fear as it manifests and how it manifests in many different forms. And in some sense it doesn’t really matter what the energy is or what the emotion is. The instruction is on abiding in that experience without believing in the judgments and opinions about it. This is very important because it is quite predictable if you were to do a poll of the entire human race, what you would find is that when energy arises that is uncomfortable, it triggers our conditioning and we forget about any kind of rational approach at all. We go sort of nuts. So this is to say even very wonderful people such as us who perhaps have been listening to this kind of teaching for years and trying to apply it and something happens in our life. It might be a phobia; perhaps we have strong fears that are phobic. Fear of heights -- that has been one that I’ve worked with in my life. Fear of flying, fear of elevators. There are different kinds of fears that we have. And when the phobia hooks in, we somehow just shut down and the last thing that occurs to us is to go into the fear.
People who work with phobia, they actually encourage this approach. Not to necessarily have to get up on top of the highest, you know, walk across a tightrope across the Niagara Falls if you are afraid of heights, but to get used to the feeling of fear that arises with heights or with flying or elevators or spiders, snakes, whatever it might be, space -- there are a lot of phobias. And many of us have them. So the approach is to go into the feeling and to do it in a situation where you are not right on the spot, on the brink of the Grand Canyon, or going down the Grand Canyon on these donkeys. If anyone has ever done that who is afraid of heights, it is a very uncomfortable experience. The donkeys get very close to the edge and the bottom is a long way down. So going into the fear like, getting in touch with the feeling and going into it, abiding in the experience without feeding it with our opinions and judgments about it.
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Start Where You Are with Pema Chödrön
We already have everything we need. There is no need for self-improvement. All these trips that we lay on ourselves – the heavy-duty feeling that we’re bad and hoping that we’re good, the identities that we so dearly cling to, the rage, the jealousy and the addictions of all kinds – never touch our basic wealth. They are like clouds that temporarily block the sun. But all the time our warmth and brilliance are right here.
This is who we really are. We are one blink of an eye away from being fully awake. Looking at ourselves this way is very different from our usual habit. From this perspective we don’t need to change: you can feel as wretched as you like, and you’re still a good candidate for enlightenment. You can feel like the world’s most hopeless basket case, but that feeling is your wealth, not something to be thrown out or improved upon. There’s a richness to all of the smelly stuff that we so dislike and so little desire. The delightful things – what we love so dearly about ourselves, the places in which we feel some sense of pride or inspiration – these also are our wealth. With the practices presented in this book, you can start just where you are.
If you’re feeling angry, poverty-stricken, or depressed, the practices described here were designed for you, because they will encourage you to use all of the unwanted things in your life as the means for awakening compassion for yourself and others. These practices show us how to accept ourselves, how to relate directly with suffering, how to stop running away from the painful aspects of our lives. They show us how to work openheartedly with life just as it is. When we hear about compassion, it naturally brings up working with others, caring for others. The reason we’re often not there for others – whether for our child or our mother or someone who is insulting us or someone who frightens us – is that we’re not there for ourselves.
There are whole parts of ourselves that are so unwanted that whenever they begin to come up we run away. Because we escape, we keep missing being right here, being right on the dot. We keep missing the moment we’re in. Yet, if we can experience the moment we’re in, we discover that it is unique, precious, and completely fresh. It never happens twice. One can appreciate and celebrate each moment – there’s nothing more sacred. There’s nothing more vast or absolute. In fact, there’s nothing more!
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It's Not About the Tights with Chris Brogan
Today we are pleased to bring you an excerpt from a new release - It's Not About The Tights with Chris Brogan. In this title, Chris helps us to learn how we are the superhero we've been waiting for, to find the success points in our life. Read on for a brief excerpt and click below to hear a free audio sample.
There are many things that we believe that we do or don’t practice ourselves. Some we support. Others we abhor. But we believe that they are real, that they exist. So, whether or not you’re willing to own your bravery, can you agree that it exists? That it’s part of what you believe? That’s a start.
Sometimes, I am not brave. Sometimes, I haven’t made the right choice. I will likely make choices that are less brave again at some point in my future. And I will seek to forgive myself. I will learn. And I’ll do what I can to work on my bravery again. Bravery is about moving forward, because we can never go back.
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Stop Selling and Start Solving with Brandon Steiner
Stop Selling and Start Solving is a live speech in which Brandon Steiner details his multiple entrepreneurial adventures, where he has both learned and taught others his fair share of "rules."
Along the way, he developed some of the most innovative approaches to business--methods that many of today's companies would be wise to observe and employ themselves. In "Stop Selling and Start Solving", Brandon reveals his principles of leadership, selling tools, teamwork, strategy, planning, and how to climb the ladder of success.
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