Pema Chodron: Life Is Glorious, and Wretched.

Via on Apr 27, 2011

“To be fully alive, fully human, and completely awake is to be continually thrown out of the nest…

Life is glorious, but life is also wretched. It is both.

Appreciating the gloriousness inspires us, encourages us, cheers us up, gives us a bigger perspective, energizes us. We feel connected. But if that’s all that’s happening, we get arrogant and start to look down on others, and there is a sense of making ourselves a big deal and being really serious about it, wanting it to be like that forever. The gloriousness becomes tinged by craving and addiction.

On the other hand, wretchedness—life’s painful aspect—softens us up considerably. Knowing pain is a very important ingredient of being there for another person. When you are feeling a lot of grief, you can look right into somebody’s eyes because you feel you haven’t got anything to lose–you’re just there. The wretchedness humbles us and softens us, but if we were only wretched, we would all just go down the tubes. We’d be so depressed, discouraged, and hopeless that we wouldn’t have enough energy to eat an apple.

Gloriousness and wretchedness need each other. One inspires us, the other softens us. They go together.”

Start Where You Are: A Guide to Compassionate Living by Pema Chödrön

Pema Chodron – The Doorway to Freedom

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About Benjamin Riggs

Ben Riggs is the director of the Refuge Meditation Group in Shreveport, LA. Ben writes extensively about Buddhist & Christian spirituality for The Good Men Project, Elephant Journal, and The Web of Enlightenment. To keep up with all of his work follow him on Facebook or Twitter. Looking for a real bio? Click here to read my story....


8 Responses to “Pema Chodron: Life Is Glorious, and Wretched.”

  1. I love everything she says.

  2. Julian says:

    AS Blake said: 'Life is full of Joy ANd Woe,
    When this we do really know
    Safely (and my addition – Sanely) through the World we GO…

    So many people think it's weak to admit the woe bit, or Give it the space that it is due…

    Energy of Mind: I think it's a bit like one teacher pointed out: our ego wants to feed, and is umbilacally-attached to us. We are attached to our comfort and our tranquillity' at the expense of Reality, being aware of the Totality, Total Alive Awareness… It is not easy to work on: one has to be ruthless and yet kind with oneself, with more emphasis on the latter…. For me, habits will continue unless awareness intervenes…Somehow… It is enough to have the very strong intention, with enough awareness, some courage to be willing to meet with whatever one meets, keeping your heart 'on', and being supple

  3. Bart says:

    When you've got nothing you've got nothing to lose.

  4. sheila shane says:

    just lost a friend to suicide so this came at the right time. having difficulty with it
    thank you so much pema your it for me since start where you are

  5. To the limit says:

    […] healthy in the long term. But it has a way of bringing up unresolved emotional stuff, and that wretchedness will soften our hearts if we let it. Maybe it’s OK to feel those feelings, to cry over lost croissants and the fact that […]

  6. Elena says:

    Beautiful! thank you for sharing!

  7. […] healthy in the long term. But it has a way of bringing up unresolved emotional stuff, and that wretchedness will soften our hearts if we let it. Maybe it’s OK to feel those feelings, to cry over lost croissants and the fact that […]

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