Leave an aspiration for Pema’s healthy happy long life, or a thank you message, in the comments section below. If we get enough, we might put a(n even bigger) smile on her face. ~ Waylon, ed.
Cheerful Birthday, Pema. With deep thanks for your good humor, sad compassion and integrity and NBD attitude toward groundlessness & neurosis.
Cheerful Birthday, Pema.
So many spot-on quotes:
“…feelings like disappointment, embarrassment, irritation, resentment, anger, jealousy, and fear, instead of being bad news, are actually very clear moments that teach us where it is that we’re holding back. They teach us to perk up and lean in when we feel we’d rather collapse and back away. They’re like messengers that show us, with terrifying clarity, exactly where we’re stuck. This very moment is the perfect teacher, and, lucky for us, it’s with us wherever we are.”
~ Pema Chödron
On meeting her teacher, Chögyam Trungpa:
…It was the early 1970s, the height of the hippie times and we were surrounded by the communes and all of that. So there was no way to not be interested in spirituality, but it was very superficial, really, and I didn’t distinguish Buddhism from Sufism from anything else; it was just a lot of stuff. When the marriage broke up it had the effect of throwing me into a totally groundless state, which these days might be called a severe depression. I was scared and I was angry and I couldn’t get anything to come back together.
In retrospect, it was one of these everyday experiences that people have of emptiness, really, but with no reference point to dharma. The only thing for me that was significant was that I felt it had something to teach me. So I started searching for answers. I looked everywhere, from Primal Scream for one day, and that didn’t suit me, and all kinds of things that were offered at that time. Then on the front seat of someone’s pickup I saw a magazine called Garuda. I opened it up and there was an article called Working With Negativity. When I read it, it was like a bell going off. It was the only thing that I came across that acknowledged that this was something creative, that this crisis was pointing to some deeper meaning. I think the first line of the article was, There’s nothing wrong with negativity … that it’s actually creative and very direct and very really … and I’m reading this just nodding and nodding. Then it talks about the only problem was the spin off, the negative negativity…
…[later] So I had my interview and what I remember is that I set the tone by just chatting, chatting, chatting and not asking him my real questions, which were: “My life is falling apart, I’m totally miserable, and what should I do?” After listening to my chatter for awhile, he indicated that the interview was over. He and Diana were going to go to a movie. He stood up and I stood up and then I just started blurting everything out like [makes blubbering sounds]. He was so patient with me and so kind and I remember his answer so well, he said — and of course this is from my memory, so it’s not word-for-word, but basically he said:
“Well, it’s like being in the ocean when the waves are really rough and high. They knock you over and you find yourself on the floor of the ocean with your face in the sand. The sand is getting in your nose and your mouth and your eyes and the waves are holding you down. But then the wave recedes and you stand back up and you walk until the next waves comes in and knocks you down and the same thing keeps happening. And each time you just stand back up and after awhile it seems to you that the waves are getting smaller and smaller.”
Video, with Bill Moyers:
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