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The Fearless Heart with Pema Chödrön

PemaChodron-fearlessheart-Cover-BLAt 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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The Fearless Heart with Pema Chödrön

PemaChodron-fearlessheart-Cover-BLIn this transcribed excerpt from Pema Chödrön's talk on "The Fearless Heart: The Practice of Living with Courage and Compassion", Ani Pema tells 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.

Click Here for Free Preview and to Purchase
Pema Chodron on BetterListen!

 

Pema Chodron: Smile at Fear Part One

Today we are pleased to bring to you this excerpt from Smile at Fear: A Retreat with Pema Chodron.  We all have fears, but when we look closely at them, we discover that behind each fear resides a basic fear of ourselves.  Take the journey with Pema Chodron and discover what is inside of your fear.

I think it’s really wonderful that so many of us are going to spend this time together.  Despite its inconveniences and quite a few people expressed their dismay, at there being 3,000 people. They sort of thought they were going to have an intimate time with me and I actually was pretty amazed myself at this turn out. In fact, dumbfounded, but that this large group of people can gather together and mediate together and contemplate teachings that come from the intention of wanting to help the world at this time or any time.

The Shambhala teachings presented in the last ten years or so of his life and he died in 1987 were based on the fact that we could take our wish to be sane and open hearted people.  That we could take that wish that most of us have to be more sane and more kind and more open hearted, open minded but that we could do it in a very large global context of wanting to wake up, to wanting to be kinder, more sane, more open hearted and open minded so that we could help other people. So that we could reach out to the people that come into our lives, our family members and neighbors and coworkers or perhaps we feel inspired to enter a profession where we spend all of our time and energy trying to help in a more global or national level.

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Mindful Eating: A Guide to Rediscovering a Healthy and Joyful Relationship with Food

As we approach the holiday season, we want to help ease your mind a bit and help you learn to free yourself of unhealthy habits when it comes to eating.  This Shambhala title explores the option of mindfulness to free ourselves from unhealthy eating habits.  Jan Chozen Bays, MD explains it all to us in this excerpt from Mindful Eating.

Our struggles with food cause tremendous emotional distress, including guilt, shame and depression. As a physician, I’ve also seen how our eating problems can lead to debilitating diseases and even to premature death. According to the US Department of Health, nearly 2 out of 3 American adults are overweight or obese. It’s also estimated that millions of Americans suffer from anorexia or bulimia. One could call this an epidemic of eating disorders, but I prefer to think of the problem as an increasingly unbalanced relationship to food.

One of the primary causes of this imbalance is a lack of an essential human nutrient, mindfulness. Mindfulness is the act of paying full nonjudgmental attention to our moment to moment experience. This book explores how we can use mindfulness to free ourselves from unhealthy eating habits and improve our overall quality of life. Right now we’re in need of a fresh approach to our eating problems because the conventional methods aren’t working. Research shows that no matter what diet people undertake, no matter what kinds of food they stop or start eating, they lose an average of only 8 to 11 pounds and then gain it back in about a year. Only a few individuals are successful in losing a significant amount of weight and not regaining it. We can see that dieting is not the answer.

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