Starting where you are…


Pema Chodron is awesome and here’s why…

I really like the way Pema sets forth complex, even mind-bending concepts in a laid-back, next door neighbor kind of way. Last evening I was reading Start Where You Are and came across a passage that I have re-read no less than 4 times today. Here’s the context: we are the sum of the yin and the yang. This is by design. Our societal norms and upbringing can create so much noise that we are unable to hear the sound of our own soul’s purpose. We cannot have dark without light, therefore, accepting our darkness is part of being who we are. Never mind the judgments within and without.

Chodron (2011) states “Maybe you’ve heard that the Buddha is not out there; the Buddha is within. The Buddha within is bad and good coexisting, evil and purity coexisting; the Buddha within is not just all the nice stuff. The Buddha within is messy as well as clean. The Buddha within is really sordid as well as wholesome – yucky, smelly, repulsive as well as the opposite: they coexist” (p. 24).  The author goes on to state that “At the everyday kitchen-sink level, it simply means that as you see things in yourself that you think are terrible and not worthy, maybe you could reflect that that’s Buddha” (p. 24).

The point Chodron (2011) repeatedly makes is that we are what we are, by design. If we resist accepting the things we find not-so-awesome about ourselves and we are constantly judging ourselves as “bad” [or whatever the case may be] then we will miss out on the opportunity to see ourselves as whole and perfectly imperfect. This seems to be a direct pathway to loving oneself, though I’m still struggling with the concept and probably always will. I’m OK with that. I now know that I cannot live my life for anyone else as a primary motivation. When I do try to force that mindset, I end up more miserable and broken down that if I had just allowed me to be Me.

Huh. What a fascinating mindset for an overachiever in the codependent department!


5 thoughts on “Starting where you are…

  1. Pingback: The In-between State | Walks with Yogi

  2. Hi dharmagoddess!

    Sounds like this book has a lot of good things to say. I personally think that there is nothing in the unconcious mind that is negative that can’t be brought into the light and be transformed into something positive.

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