Sunday, November 7, 2010

When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times by Pema Chödrön

Rating 3/5

I had some strong emotional reactions to this book, notably resistance to tonglen practice. Which is worth exploring, obviously. I think part of it is the fact that since I have a chronic pain condition, the idea of breathing in even more suffering seems like masochism, even though intellectually I understand why/how it works paradoxically. Maybe I'm just not ready for that teaching yet. Chodron talks a lot about meditation, which I'm unable to do because of the pain I'm in - it's so uncomfortable, it also feels like masochism. Maybe I'm just not facing up to it, but I don't think torturing myself is the way to go. So there wasn't as much in this book for me as I hoped there would be. I'm much more amenable to mindfulness and philosophy as opposed to sitting meditation. But I have great respect for Chodron as a person and a Buddhist, and anything she has to say is worth a read. Perhaps one day I will be able to come back to this book and have it be more helpful.

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