When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times (20th Anniversary Edition)

When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times (20th Anniversary Edition)

by Pema Chodron


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Pema Chödrön's perennially best-selling classic on overcoming life's difficulties cuts to the heart of spirituality and personal growth—now in a newly designed 20th-anniversary edition with a new afterword by Pema—makes for a perfect gift and addition to one's spiritual library.

How can we live our lives when everything seems to fall apart—when we are continually overcome by fear, anxiety, and pain? The answer, Pema Chödrön suggests, might be just the opposite of what you expect. Here, in her most beloved and acclaimed work, Pema shows that moving toward painful situations and becoming intimate with them can open up our hearts in ways we never before imagined. Drawing from traditional Buddhist wisdom, she offers life-changing tools for transforming suffering and negative patterns into habitual ease and boundless joy.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781611803433
Publisher: Shambhala
Publication date: 06/07/2016
Edition description: Anniversary
Pages: 176
Sales rank: 12,371
Product dimensions: 5.10(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Pema Chödrön is an American Buddhist nun in the lineage of Chögyam Trungpa and resident teacher at Gampo Abbey in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, the first Tibetan Buddhist monastery in North America. She is the author of numerous best-selling books, including The Places That Scare You and Living Beautifully.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Introduction xi

1 Intimacy with Fear 1

2 When Things Fall Apart 7

3 This Very Moment Is the Perfect Teacher 13

4 Relax As It Is 19

5 It's Never Too Late 25

6 Not Causing Harm 31

7 Hopelessness and Death 37

8 Eight Worldly Dharmas 45

9 Six Kinds of Loneliness 51

10 Curious about Existence 59

11 Nonaggression and the Four Maras 65

12 Growing Up 73

13 Widening the Circle of Compassion 79

14 The Love That Will Not Die 87

15 Going against the Grain 93

16 Servants of Peace 97

17 Opinions 107

18 Secret Oral Instructions 113

19 Three Methods for Working with Chaos 119

20 The Trick of Choicelessness 127

21 Reversing the Wheel of Samsara 137

22 The Path Is the Goal 143

Afterword to the 20th Anniversary Edition 147

Bibliography 151

Resources 153

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"Pema Chodron is one of those spiritual teachers who brings ancient wisdom to bear upon our daily triumphs and tragedies. . . . Incredibly wise and poignantly practical."—Spirituality & Health

"Chödrön's book is filled with useful advice about how Buddhism helps readers to cope with the grim realities of modern life, including fear, despair, rage and the feeling that we are not in control of our lives . . . Chödrön demonstrates how effective the Buddhist point of view can be in bringing order into disordered lives."—Publishers Weekly

"This is a book that could serve you for a lifetime."—Natural Health

"As one of Pema Chödrön's grateful students, I have been learning the most pressing and necessary lesson of all: how to keep opening wider my own heart."—Alice Walker

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When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
EPClark More than 1 year ago
"When Things Fall Apart" is a short, pithy collection of essays by esteemed Buddhist nun and spiritual guide Pema Chodron about facing the difficult things in life, whatever they may be. Although Chodron sometimes discusses specific situations, and occasionally gives specific examples, sometimes rather amusing ones of her inability to live up to her own aspirations, for the most part these essays are focused on general issues that can be applied to whatever your specific situation happens to be. The book opens with "Intimacy with Fear" and continues with discussions of how to face life when things fall apart, figuratively or literally, and how to deal with the things that everyone will face, such as suffering and loneliness. In the way of Buddhist teachings, the writing and instruction tends towards the spare, constantly pushing the reader/practitioner back onto their own devices. As Chodron says in the chapter on "Hopelessness and Death": "We are all inclined to abdicate our responsibilities and delegate our authority to something outside ourselves. Nontheism is relaxing with the ambiguity and uncertainty of the present moment without reaching for anything to protect ourselves. We sometimes think that dharma is something outside of ourselves--something to believe in, something to measure up to. However, dharma isn't a belief; it isn't dogma. It is total appreciation of impermanence and change." Throughout the collection, Chodron gently exhorts the reader to be one with the moment, to give up on the idea of an external babysitter that will take care of everything for them, instead accepting that what they have right now is what they have right now. Readers may or may not find that comforting, but those going through hard times--and everyone goes through hard times--may find it a welcome antidote to the constant calls to be optimistic and look on the bright side. Not that Chodron's writing is pessimistic, but the Buddhist approach to difficulty is to face it square on and accept it for what it is, rather than dressing it up or hiding from it, something that can be a refreshing change for Western readers. All in all, a short and simple introduction to some important concepts in Buddhist thought, from one of its leading contemporary practitioners.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I found this audio tape to be inspiring and full of truth. She talks of things in a new way for me -- making it clear, simple, she shares her core. Her way of explianing things is relevant to our society and so easy to grasp. This was just what I wanted/needed to hear.