Pema Chodron

Grappling with so many difficult emotions at once.  Stunned, hopeless, vulnerable, disbelieving and so, so discouraged.

Easy to be angry, to blame others…

And to scold myself for being so foolish, for believing that the time had come.  That the moment had finally arrived and I was here to experience it.

After 48 hours in this negative place, some tiny spark of survival, the survival of my spirit, the survival of faith, sent me to the bookshelf.  There I found the wisest of the wise women of our times – and there are many, many wise women and men – and I turn to her for sustenance.

In her book The Places That Scare You, A Guide to Fearlessness in Difficult Times, Pema Chodron shares this chant:

Hatred never ceases by hatred

But by love alone is healed

This is an ancient and eternal law.

Thousands of people risked their lives to embrace this Buddhist chant, while being held in a Cambodian refugee camp, during the time of the Khmer Rouge.  Unquestionably a situation far more dire than our disheartening November experience.

In her 2006 book Practicing Peace in Times of War Pema speaks of rereading the writings of Martin Luther King Jr and about trying “to bring about change by nonviolence and nonaggression.”  [I think we can all agree that there was more than enough aggression during the campaign.]

In other words, [we] have a chance to soften what is rigid in [our] hearts and still hold the view that injustice is being done and work toward unwinding that injustice or that cruelty.

All of this is just words, I know; it is my attempt to regain my footing, after being so suddenly and shockingly thrown off balance.  All I can do is try.


2 thoughts on “Pema Chodron

  1. In talking to my young 22 year old friend Tess today, I said that I felt that, in my advancing age, I probably would never again have a chance to vote for a woman for President. She assures me that I am wrong, that ‘her generation’ will soon find a new candidate. I love the hopefulness and confidence in her response!

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