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Taking the Leap: Freeing Ourselves from Old Habits and Fears [NOOK Book]

Overview

In this book Pema Ch?dr?n shows us how to break free of destructive patterns in our lives and experience a new sense of freedom and happiness. Drawing on the Buddhist concept of shenpa, she helps us to see how certain habits of mind tend to ?hook? us and get us stuck in states of anger, blame, self-hatred, and addiction. The good news is that once we start to see these patterns, we can begin to change our lives for the better.


The key is ...

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Taking the Leap: Freeing Ourselves from Old Habits and Fears

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Overview

In this book Pema Chödrön shows us how to break free of destructive patterns in our lives and experience a new sense of freedom and happiness. Drawing on the Buddhist concept of shenpa, she helps us to see how certain habits of mind tend to “hook” us and get us stuck in states of anger, blame, self-hatred, and addiction. The good news is that once we start to see these patterns, we can begin to change our lives for the better.


The key is learning a new way of facing the inevitable difficulties and insecurities of our daily lives: we must learn how to stay present and open our hearts. “This path entails uncovering three basic human qualities,” explains Pema. “These qualities have always been with us but perhaps have gotten buried and almost forgotten. They are natural intelligence, natural warmth, and natural openness. Everyone, everywhere, all over the globe, has these qualities and can call on them to help themselves and others."


This book gives us the insights and practices we can immediately put to use in our lives to awaken these essential qualities. In her friendly and encouraging style, Pema Chödrön helps us to take a bold leap toward a new way of living—one that will bring about positive transformation for ourselves and for our troubled world.






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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Getting enmeshed in destructive patterns or problems is universal, but the Buddhists have an almost uniquely apt word for it: shenpa, which translates colloquially as "getting stuck" or "getting hooked." Pema Chödrön's Taking the Leap shows by example after example that Buddhist teachings also offer ways to free ourselves from these moments of disappointment or malaise. Transformational teachings and practices.
Publishers Weekly
This gently encouraging book by popular teacher Chödrön (When Things Fall Apart; The Places That Scare You) applies Buddhist wisdom to the problems of deeply ingrained reactions. An American Buddhist nun in the lineage of Tibetan master Chogyam Trungpa, she writes that “we already have what we need” to change and heal. Chödrön focuses on the preverbal moment—called shenpa in Tibetan—in which individuals are “hooked” into harmful stories, emotions and actions within the flux of their experiences. Clear descriptions of how this process works are accompanied by simple techniques to begin to break the cycle. Her suggestions can be easily practiced by anyone at any time without meditation training, although she presents the benefits of sitting meditation. With anecdotes from her teachers and examples from her own and others' lives, Chödrön demonstrates that people can stop their suffering and access their natural intelligence, warmth and openness. Throughout, she emphasizes the global implications of personal change. Among her strengths are compassion for the difficulty of human existence and her willingness to acknowledge her own failings. This short guide provides valuable tools for change in uncertain times. (Sept. 8)
From the Publisher
“This short guide provides valuable tools for change in uncertain times.”—Publishers Weekly
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780834821019
  • Publisher: Shambhala Publications, Inc.
  • Publication date: 9/14/2010
  • Series: Shambhala Publications
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Sales rank: 78,660
  • File size: 504 KB

Meet the Author

Pema Chödrön is an American Buddhist nun in the lineage of Chögyam Trungpa. She is resident teacher at Gampo Abbey in Nova Scotia, the first Tibetan monastery in North America established for Westerners. She is the author of many books and audiobooks, including the best-selling When Things Fall Apart and Don't Bite the Hook.

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Read an Excerpt


From Chapter 1:Feeding the Right Wolf

As human beings we have the potential to disentangle ourselves from old habits, and the potential to love and care about each other. We have the capacity to wake up and live consciously, but, you may have noticed, we also have a strong inclination to stay asleep. It’s as if we are always at a crossroad, continuously choosing which way to go. Moment by moment we can choose to go toward further clarity and happiness or toward confusion and pain.

In order to make this choice skillfully, many of us turn to spiritual practices of various kinds with the wish that our lives will lighten up and that we’ll find the strength to cope with our difficulties. Yet in these times it seems crucial that we also keep in mind the wider context in which we make choices about how to live: this is the context of our beloved earth and the rather rocky condition it’s in.

For many, spiritual practice represents a way to relax and a way to access peace of mind. We want to feel more calm, more focused; and with our frantic and stressful lives, who can blame us? Nevertheless, we have a responsibility to think bigger than that these days. If spiritual practice is relaxing, if it gives us some peace of mind, that’s great—but is this personal satisfaction helping us to address what’s happening in the world? The main question is, are we living in a way that adds further aggression and self-centeredness to the mix, or are we adding some much-needed sanity?

Many of us feel deeply concerned about the state of the world. I know how sincerely people wish for things to change and for beings everywhere to be free of suffering. But if we’re honest with ourselves, do we have any idea how to put this aspiration into practice when it comes to our own lives? Do we have any clarity about how our own words and actions may be causing suffering? And even if we do recognize that we’re making a mess of things, do we have a clue about how to stop? These have always been important questions, but they are especially so today. This is a time when disentangling ourselves is about more than our personal happiness. Working on ourselves and becoming more conscious about our own minds and emotions may be the only way for us to find solutions that address the welfare of all beings and the survival of the earth itself.

There was a story that was widely circulated a few days after the attacks of September 11, 2001, that illustrates our dilemma. A Native American grandfather was speaking to his grandson about violence and cruelty in the world and how it comes about. He said it was as if two wolves were fighting in his heart. One wolf was vengeful and angry, and the other wolf was understanding and kind. The young man asked his grandfather which wolf would win the fight in his heart. And the grandfather answered, “The one that wins will be the one I choose to feed.”

So this is our challenge, the challenge for our spiritual practice and the challenge for the world—how can we train right now, not later, in feeding the right wolf? How can we call on our innate intelligence to see what helps and what hurts, what escalates aggression and what uncovers our good-heartedness? With the global economy in chaos and the environment of the planet at risk, with war raging and suffering escalating, it is time for each of us in our own lives to take the leap and do whatever we can to help turn things around. Even the slightest gesture toward feeding the right wolf will help. Now more than ever, we are all in this together.

Taking the leap involves making a commitment to ourselves and to the earth itself—making a commitment to let go of old grudges, to not avoid people and situations and emotions that make us feel uneasy, to not cling to our fears, our closedmindedness, our hardheartedness, our hesitation. Now is the time to develop trust in our basic goodness and the basic goodness of our sisters and brothers on this earth; a time to develop confidence in our ability to drop our old ways of staying stuck and to choose wisely. We could do that right here and right now.

In our everyday encounters, we can live in a way that will help us learn to do this. When we talk to someone we don’t like and don’t agree with—maybe a family member or a person at work—we tend to spend a great amount of energy sending anger their way. Yet our resentments and self-centeredness, as familiar as they are, are not our basic nature. We all have the natural ability to interrupt old habits. All of us know how healing it is to be kind, how transformative it is to love, what a relief it is to have old grudges drop away. With just a slight shift in perspective, we can realize that people strike out and say mean things for the same reasons we do. With a sense of humor we can see that our sisters and brothers, our partners, our children, our coworkers are driving us crazy the same way we drive other people crazy.

The first step in this learning process is to be honest with ourselves. Most of us have gotten so good at empowering our negativity and insisting on our rightness that the angry wolf gets shinier and shinier, and the other wolf is just there with its pleading eyes. But we’re not stuck with this way of being. When we’re feeling resentment or any strong emotion, we can recognize that we are getting worked up, and realize that right now we can consciously make the choice to be aggressive or to cool off. It comes down to choosing which wolf we want to feed.

Of course, if we intend to test out this approach, we need some pointers. We need ways to train in this path of choosing wisely. This path entails uncovering three qualities of being human, three basic qualities that have always been with us but perhaps have gotten buried and been almost forgotten. These qualities are natural intelligence, natural warmth, and natural openness. When I say that the potential for goodness exists in all beings, that is acknowledging that everyone, everywhere, all over the globe, has these qualities and can call on them to help themselves and others.

Natural intelligence is always accessible to us. When we’re not caught in the trap of hope and fear, we intuitively know what’s the right thing to do. If we’re not obscuring our intelligence with anger, self-pity, or craving, we know what will help and what will make things worse. Our well-perfected emotional reactions cause us to do and say a lot of crazy things. We desire to be happy and at peace, but when our emotions are aroused, somehow the methods we use to achieve this happiness only make us more miserable. Our wishes and our actions are, all too frequently, not in synch. Nevertheless, we all have access to a fundamental intelligence that can help to solve our problems rather than making them worse.

Natural warmth is our shared capacity to love, to have empathy, to have a sense of humor. It is also our capacity to feel gratitude and appreciation and tenderness. It’s the whole gamut of what often are called the heart qualities, qualities that are a natural part of being human. Natural warmth has the power to heal all relationships—the relationship with ourselves as well as with people, animals, and all that we encounter everyday of our lives.

The third quality of basic goodness is natural openness, the spaciousness of our skylike minds. Fundamentally, our minds are expansive, flexible, and curious; they are pre-prejudice, so to speak. This is the condition of mind before we narrow down into a fear-based view where everyone is either an enemy or a friend, a threat or an ally, someone to like, dislike, or ignore. Fundamentally, this mind that we have, that you and I each have, is open.

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Table of Contents

Feeding the Right Wolf 1
Learning to Stay 13
The Habit of Escape 21
The Natural Movement of Life 31
Getting Unstuck 37
We Have What We Need 47
Rejoicing in Things as They Are 57
Uncovering Natural Openness 65
The Importance of Pain 75
Unlimited Friendliness 85
Epilogue: Taking This into the World 97


Acknowledgments 101
Related Readings 103
Resources 105
About the Author 109
The Pema Chödrön Foundation 111

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 46 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 46 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 24, 2010

    With gentle persuasion Pema Chodran encourages us to galvanize our gumption and move beyond sentimental wishes for a better world. She leads us through the training regimens that will enable us to be the change we want to see.

    She uses plain talk in a provocative manner of sharing profound wisdom. She invites the reader to mindfully look within and around to consider one's impact on the world as it is and whether that is what one intends. She lays the most basic ground work for making new decisions in easily understood guidelines. Small groups of persons would benefit from a chapter by chapter study, grounding, and sharing of experiences and insights over a period of several weeks using this book as a touch stone for transformative and holistic decision making. Yet the content is for each solitary individual to ponder in plotting an intentional living of his/her here-and-now life. Above all her gentle and encouraging manner beckons us to take responsibility for our own life and its ripple effect in the great ocean of humanity. It is a short read that can have long lasting effect.

    7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 8, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    HOW MANY WILL HAVE THE COURAGE TO TAKE CONTROL OF THEIR LIVES?

    Not everyone will find this book appealing and even helpful, because it tells you to find the courage to face your own fears and own up to your own mistakes, flaws and weaknesses. Not many will even dare surrender all their pains, suffering and their 'bad, lesser' side - because we have worked so hard all our lives to hide them and escape from them. In fact, we even developed a cretain skill in blaming others for all the things that have gone wrong in our lives. We have become so good at assigning the responsibility to others but have NEVER TAKEN CONTROL of our lives. I don't know who invented the idea that it is good adn convenient to give up control and blame others so that we do not have to feel so bad. But in the end, we are just running from the truth and ourselves. If we are lucky, we will come to realise that we have not even begun living our lives because we have been so pre-occupied with justifying why we haven't done the things we should have done, said the things we should have said and could have. If you seriously want to continue existing like a hologram with no real life and freedom, if you want to continue hiding and escaping from the truth, then please do not take the leap. Stay far away from this book and live in the prison of your lies. But if you do have the courage to free yourself for good and live the life you deserve, then yes, read this book and please do not stop there. Please do not read it like a philosophy book or as another sleeping aid. We will not be CURED by just buying the book and reading. We need to go all the way and change ourselves, our lives, behaviour and mind set. We need to work at it, diligently, day in and out. Then and only then, lasting results will arise. Then you will thank me for sure and Pema Chodron, of course. If you are feeling really brave, after taking the leap and want to take it to the next level, please read "Gurus for Hire, Enlightenment for Sale" by Tsem Tulku Rinpoche. He might just be the Guru you need.

    7 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 1, 2011

    Break Habits and Harmful Thought Patterns

    Following the instructions in this book will help you "reset" your mind when temptations and unwanted thoughts assail you.

    If you need to break a bad habit or stop intrusive, harmful thought patterns ("WHY did s/he do this to me?!"), following the instructions in this book will be welcome help.

    These instructions aren't difficult, they don't cost anything, and they can be done anywhere, any time. You don't have to set aside 30 minutes at 4:30 a.m. to get this done. You don't have to buy a course or spend money or get in a group. You can just simply begin to follow the instructions and experience success and peace in your goals.

    Good luck!

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 13, 2012

    Classic Pema

    Simply explained. Down to earth delivery. May not appeal to those with extensive knowledge of Buddhist philosophy but still practical.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 15, 2012

    Highly Recommended - a way up and out.

    To me, this is a 'how to' for getting free of fear and dread. Staying is healing. Read the book and you'll know what I mean. Love this book.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 6, 2014

    Highly Recommend

    Great book, a must have!!!!!!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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