Comfortable with Uncertainty: 108 Teachings on Cultivating Fearlessness and Compassion

Comfortable with Uncertainty: 108 Teachings on Cultivating Fearlessness and Compassion

by Pema Chodron

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Overview

108 practical teachings for cultivating mindfulness and compassion in the face of fear and uncertainty, from the author of When Things Fall Apart 
 
Comfortable with Uncertainty offers short, stand-alone readings designed to help us cultivate compassion and awareness amid the challenges of daily living. More than a collection of thoughts for the day, it offers a progressive program of spiritual study, leading the reader through essential concepts, themes, and practices on the Buddhist path.

Readers do not need to have prior knowledge of Buddhist thought or practice, making Comfortable with Uncertainty a perfect introduction to Pema Chödrön's teaching. It features the most essential and stirring passages from Chödrön's previous books, exploring topics such as lovingkindness, meditation, mindfulness, "nowness," letting go, and working with fear and other painful emotions. Through the course of this book, readers will learn practical methods for heightening awareness and overcoming habitual patterns that block compassion.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780834821125
Publisher: Shambhala
Publication date: 12/30/2003
Series: Shambhala Publications
Sold by: Penguin Random House Publisher Services
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 240
Sales rank: 231,051
File size: 1 MB

About 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.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter
4: The Wisdom of No Escape

The
central question of a warrior's training is not how we avoid uncertainty and
fear but how we relate to discomfort. How do we practice with difficulty, with
our emotions, with the unpredictable encounters of an ordinary day? For those
of us with a hunger to know the truth, painful emotions are like flags going up
to say, "You're stuck!" We regard disappointment, embarrassment,
irritation, jealousy, and fear as moments that show us where we're holding
back, how we're shutting down. Such uncomfortable feelings are messages that
tell us to perk up and lean into a situation when we'd rather cave in and back
away.

When
the flag goes up, we have an opportunity: we can stay with our painful emotion
instead of spinning out. Staying is how we get the hang of gently catching
ourselves when we're about to let resentment harden into blame, righteousness,
or alienation. It's also how we keep from smoothing things over by talking
ourselves into a sense of relief or inspiration. This is easier said than done.

Ordinarily
we are swept away by habitual momentum. We don't interrupt our patterns even
slightly. With practice, however, we learn to stay with a broken heart, with a
nameless fear, with the desire for revenge. Sticking with uncertainty is how we
learn to relax in the midst of chaos, how we learn to be cool when the ground
beneath us suddenly disappears. We can bring ourselves back to the spiritual
path countless times every day simply by exercising our willingness to rest in
the uncertainty of the present moment—over and over again.



Table of Contents

Editor's
Preface
xiii

1. The
Love That Will Not Die

1

2. The
Healing Power of Bodhichitta

3

3. Comfortable
with Uncertainty

5

4. The
Wisdom of No Escape

7

5. Loving-Kindness:
The Essential Practice

9

6. Loving-Kindness
and Meditation
11
7. Why
Meditate? 12

8. The
Six Points of Posture
15
9. No
Such Thing as a True Story
17
10. Sitting
Meditation
19
11. Four
Qualities of Maitri
21
12. The
Root of Suffering
23
13. Weather
and the Four Noble Truths 25

14. The
Facts of Life: Impermanence
27
15. Not
Causing Harm
29
16. The
Dharma
31
17. The
Practice of Mindfulness
and
Refraining
33
18. Relax
as It Is
35
19. Working
with Slogans
37
20. Slogan:
"All activities should be done with one intention"
39
21. Turning
Arrows into Flowers
40
22. Nothing
Solid
43
23. The
Facts of Life: Egolessness
45
24. Staying
in the Middle
47
25. Slogan:
"Of the two witnesses, hold the principal one"
49
26. Encountering
the Edge
51
27. The
Facts of Life: Suffering
53
28. Hope
and Fear
55
29. Lighten
Up (and Do Something Different)
57
30. The
Four Reminders
59
31. Heaven
and Hell
61
32. The
Three Futile Strategies
63
33. The
Opposite of Samsara
65
34. Cultivating
the Four Limitless Qualities
66
35.
The
Practice of Loving-Kindness
68
36.
Cultivating Compassion
71
37.
The Practice of Compassion
73
38.
Cultivating the Ability to Rejoice
75
39.
The Practice of Equanimity
77
40.
Thinking Bigger
79
41.
Be Where You Are
81
42.
Tonglen and Fearlessness
83
43. Tonglen:
The Key to Realizing Interconnectedness

85

44. The
Four Stages of Tonglen

87

45. Start
Where You Are

89

46. Getting
to Know Fear

91

47. Recognize
Suffering
93
48. Slogan:
"Change your attitude, but remain natural"
95
49. Loving-Kindness
and Tonglen
97
50. Slogan:
"If you can, practice even when distracted, you are well trained"
99
51. Deepening
Tonglen
101
52. The
Empty Boat
103
53.
The
Three Poisons
105
54. On-the-Spot
Tonglen
107
55.
Start Where You Are (Again and Again)
109
56. Experience
Your Life
111
57. See
What Is
112
58. The
Buddha
113
59. Nowness 115
60. The
Heart of Everyday Life
117
61. Widening
the Circle of Compassion
119
62. Inconvenience 121
63. Widening
the Circle Further
123
64. What
Is Karma?
124
65. Growing
Up
125
66. Slogan:
"Don't expect applause"
127
67. Six
Ways of Compassionate Living
129
68. Prajna 131
69. Generosity 133
70. Discipline 135
71. Patience 137
72. Joyous
Exertion
139
73. Meditation 141
74. Letting
the World Speak for Itself ("Don't Misinterpret")
143
75. Meditation
and Prajna
145
76. Plan
to Stay Open
147
77. Slogan:
"Abandon any hope of fruition"
149
78. Cool
Loneliness
151
79. Slogan:
"Practice the three difficulties"
153
80. Communicating
from the Heart
155
81. The
Big Squeeze
157
82. Curiosity
and the Circle of Compassion
159
83. Take
Tonglen Further
161
84. Slogan:
"Be grateful to everyone"
163
85. Obstacles
as Questions
165
86. Six
Ways to Be Lonely
167
87.
Thoroughly Processed

169

88.
Commitment

171

89. Three
Methods for Working with Chaos
173

90.
On-the-Spot
Equanimity
175

91.
The
Truth Is Inconvenient
177

92.
Abiding
in the Fearless State
179

93.
The
Essential Paradox
181

94.
Nothing
to Hold on To
183

95.
Slogan:
"Drive all blames into one"
185

96.
This
Very Moment Is the Perfect Teacher
187

97.
Inviting
Your Unfinished Business
189

98.
Four
Methods for Holding Your Seat
191

99.
Cultivating
Forgiveness
193
100. Containing
the Paradox
195
101. The
Sangha
197
102. Just
Like Me (On-the-Spot Compassion)
199
103. Slogan:
"Practice the five strengths, the condensed heart instructions"
201
104. Reversing
the Wheel of Samsara
203
105. The
Path Is the Goal
205
106. Heightened
Neurosis
207
107. Compassionate
Inquiry
209
108. Slogan:
"Always maintain only a joyful mind"
211

Dedication
of Merit
212
Glossary 213
Bibliography 216
Resources 219

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