I’ve just been reading my 3rd book by Pema Chodron, an American Buddhist nun, called Start Where You Are: A Guide to Compassionate Living. (Granted, I did have a glass of red wine and a coffee with Bailey’s and Frangelico beforehand.)
Why do I feel like I need martini after a lesson on how to meditate? I’m not kidding, this stuff is dense. I’m open to it. I’m trying to process the logic of leaning into pain and casting away pleasure. Of accepting the good with the bad and appreciating the now. All very elementary distillations of a bunch of maxims (59 in total, I think?) that I’m having a hard time digesting.
I grew up Catholic, for god’s sake. (Note: little “g”.) I have memorized many a prayer and creed which, I daresay, I actually understood as I recited out loud in seemingly blind unison. Just sayin’. I’m capable of parsing parable and practical application. Not to offend anyone on the Buddhist bench, but if you want to persuade the masses, could you make it like, 5th grade reading level?
There are a lot of things I agree with in the Buddhist lessons Chodron writes about. I agree with idea that nothing in life is certain and the only way to live without struggle is to embrace that uncertainty and act as you would without fear of consequence. Put simply, “Just do it.” (That Nike is really onto something.)
With other stuff, where I understand intellectually what she means, I’m not sure how to put it in practice. Things like recognize that people you dislike are actually teaching you something about yourself–and embrace them. Doesn’t this go against… ahem… nature? You know that whole birds of a feather thing?
My mind is open, Pema Chodron. I’m listening up. But my heart needs a little more coaxing. Or a lot more red wine. There’s always tomorrow… Another day. Another dharma lesson.
p.s. One of those maxims I liked the most? “Lighten up.” (Insert wink emoticon here.)