February 28, 2019

A Pema Chödrön teaching for when Life Doesn’t make a Damn Bit of Sense. 

Check out some of our best Pema articles:
Pema Chodron: a Buddhist teaching on Loneliness, Rejection & a Broken Heart.
Pema Chodron: How to do Tonglen, a meditation practice for difficult times.

8 Pema Chödrön Quotes for when Things Really are Falling Apart.
15 Pema Chödrön Quotes that will Bring Peace to Your Heart.

I’ve been an editor with Elephant Journal for more than three years, and I’m still shocked (and super grateful) that I get paid—in part—to scour the internet for mindful teachings and inspiration and then share them with others.

And the best teachings are usually the ones that resonate the most with me at a particular point in time.

This past week has been full of unknowns for me.

Scary medical issues and unexpected loss and too many unanswered questions have left me with a lot of healing to do.

As I was scrolling through quotes, searching for something to post on our Facebook pages that readers might connect with, I found one by Pema Chödrön that instantly stood out.

I had never read it before, but it was the only thing in days that had made any sense to me.

“Letting there be room for not knowing is the most important thing of all. When there’s a big disappointment, we don’t know if that’s the end of the story. It may just be the beginning of a great adventure. Life is like that. We don’t know anything. We call something bad; we call it good. But really we just don’t know.”

I read it again, and then again.

We don’t know anything.

Well, isn’t that the damn truth.

I feel like I spend so much of my life asking why. Trying to figure things out. Trying to fix what seems broken. Trying to live a life that makes sense—whatever the hell that means.

But the truth is, I don’t know anything. I can’t explain why my life looks the way it looks or takes the turns that it does. I can make plans and take action and work toward a certain goal, but I can’t always control the outcome.

Sometimes, life is what it is, whether we understand it or not. Whether we like it or not. Whether we want it to be that way or not.

Whether it hurts or not.

So I’m going to try and stop asking why. I’m going to try and stop figuring things out. I’m going to try and stop thinking of big changes as beginnings or endings. I’m going to try and stop labeling things as good or bad.

This isn’t me giving up or abandoning what I want or avoiding life. This is me admitting that I just don’t know—and maybe that’s the first step in letting go.

Or maybe not. I mean, who knows?


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