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CureZone > Books > The Places that Scare You : A Guide to Fearlessness in Difficult Times (Shambhala Classics) by Pema Chodron, Chödrön

The Places that Scare You : A Guide to Fearlessness in Difficult Times (Shambhala Classics)
by Pema Chodron, Chödrön [edit]

The Places that Scare You : A Guide to Fearlessness in Difficult Times (Shambhala Classics)
12 Stars!
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ISBN: 1570629218

Description's Best of 2001
Pema Chödrön may have more good one-liners than a Groucho Marx retrospective, but this nun's stingers go straight to the heart: "The essence of bravery is being without self-deception"; "When we practice generosity, we become intimate with our grasping"; "Difficult people are the greatest teachers." These are the punctuations to specific teachings of fearlessness. In The Places That Scare You, Chödrön introduces a host of the compassionate warriors' tools and concepts for transforming anxieties and negative emotions into positive living. Rather than steeling ourselves against hardship, she suggests we open ourselves to vulnerability; from this comes the loving kindness and compassion that are the wellsprings of joy. How do we achieve it? Through meditation, mindfulness, slogans, aspiration, and several other practices, such as tonglen, which is taking in the pain and suffering of others while sending out happiness to all--emphasis on the all. Chödrön introduces each of these practices in turn, backing them up with succinct practical reasoning and a framework of ideas that offers fresh interpretations of familiar words like strength, laziness, and groundlessness. Chödrön is the type of person you'd like to have with you in an emergency, and to deal with the extremes of daily life. In her absence, The Places That Scare You will do nicely. --Brian Bruya --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Publishers Weekly
The Places That Scare You by Pema Chodron. Chodron, a Buddhist nun, offers plans of action for coping with anxiety, fear and uncertainty.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to the Audio Cassette edition.

From Library Journal
Chodron, a student of Chogyam Trungpa, is well known for her clear and inspiring books on spiritual practice (e.g., The Wisdom of No Escape). Here she once again presents Tibetan Buddhist wisdom in a clear, engaging, and undiluted way, making it useful and relevant for newcomers and longtime practitioners alike. This time her focus is on bodhichitta, a concept that roughly translates as "open heart" or "awakened mind." As the text points out, this is a term more easily understood than translated, finding its ground in activities that embody compassion, tenderness, and awareness. In a series of short chapters, the reader is introduced to a number of ideas found in Tibetan Buddhist bodhichitta practice and is given practical exercises for daily life. Her clear and simple descriptions guide the reader through these powerful and sometimes difficult practices. Chodron has once again proven herself to be one of the very best working in this crowded field. Recommended for all collections. Mark Woodhouse, Elmira Coll. Lib., NY
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From the Publisher
Read by Tami Simon, the founder and publisher of Sounds True.
An abridgment of the book The Places That Scare You by Pema Chodron. --This text refers to the Audio Cassette edition.

About the Author
Pema Chodron is an American Buddhist nun and one of the foremost students of Chogyam Trungpa, the renowned Tibetan meditation master. She is the author of The Places That Scare You, Comfortable with Uncertainty, The Wisdom of No Escape, Start Where You Are, and the bestselling When Things Fall Apart. Ani Pema ("Ani" is a Tibetan honorific for a nun) is the resident teacher at Gampo Abbey, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, the first Tibetan monastery in North America established for Westerners. --This text refers to the Audio Cassette edition.

Book Description
We always have a choice, Pema Chodron teaches: We can let the circumstances of our lives harden us and make us resentful and afraid, or we can let them soften us and make us kinder. In The Places That Scare You, this beloved Tibetan Buddhist nun and bestselling author provides the tools to deal with them – the practical means to cultivate an awakened, compassionate ability to open our hearts and minds to our own suffering and that of others. Shambhala Lion Editions. Unabridged book on tape read by Tami Simon. --This text refers to the Audio Cassette edition.

Be. Here. Now., November 16, 2002
Reviewer: Ronald Scheer "rockysquirrel" (Los Angeles) - See all my reviews

In the current age of anxiety, Pema Chödrön is both a refreshing and challenging voice. Basically, she encourages us to see problems as spiritual opportunities. Instead of trying to run from discomfort, she advocates staying put and learning about ourselves. Instead of habitually reaching for whatever palliative gives relief -- always temporary -- she suggests feeling and observing our discomforts, becoming more fully present in our lives, learning how to be truly here now. Only through this process, she says, can we experience the deep joy of being alive.

This is a great companion volume to her book "When Things Fall Apart." It elaborates on themes introduced there, describing several practices of Tibetan Buddhism, some ancient and long forgotten, which help us not only cope with anxiety but use it to overcome fearfulness. This is an important spiritual effort because while we typically think of hate as the enemy of love, it is really fear that makes love difficult. Fear immobilizes us, makes us pull the covers over our heads, and isolates us from others.

Chödrön, a student of Chögyam Trungpa, encourages the consistent practice of meditation. And she discounts the usual results-driven expectations people associate with it, pointing out that as we confront our true selves in meditation, it often becomes more and more difficult, not easier. And for those who have found meditation fiercely frustrating, as I have, she has alternatives. The practice of "tonglen" is one simple spiritual ritual that can be done anywhere, anytime, providing a dramatic and freeing shift in emotional perspective. Learning not to let disappointment, anger, and hurt trigger our personal melodramas, which sap our energy, we can find our way to greater equanimity and become a less destructive presence in the world.

I strongly recommend this book as a welcome spiritual tonic in troubled times, whether that trouble originates elsewhere or from within. As with her other books, you can read and reread it, each time discovering much to learn and reflect on -- and in her words, "this is news you can use." --This text refers to the Hardcover edition

A lot more to this than meets the eye, July 1, 2004
Reviewer: A reader
Pema Chodron seems to get mostly favorable reactions from reviewers, although a few are turned off by what they see as her complacency and hard-edged analysis. To the latter, I suggest reading "traditional" self-help books (there are plenty out there) that are either squishy (John Bradshaw and Wayne Dwyer come to mind) or tell you to "Just Do It" (Eat That Frog, Who Moved My Cheese).

I like Chodron and this book because I think she takes a middle path between compassion and "tough love". So many books tell us to be in the moment and experience life just as it is, warts and all. I think this book goes into a little more depth regarding the many aspects of awareness and the mind-games we play with ourselves. I also get a sense that Ms. Chodron has been through a lot in life, from both a personal and a spiritual perspective. That makes her writing a little more down to earth than, say, Deepak Chopra (many of you will cringe that I even mentioned his name in this review).

An interesting insight that I got from this book is the concept of groundlessness. In 12-step programs and some Christian circles they talk about being "spiritually grounded", which means to have beliefs that are not whimsical or based on hunches, but are well-established principles espoused by your program/religion. Chodron would appear to disagree with this description somewhat, and I'm on her side, in that you should always question what the truth is, even the Buddha's teachings. Even enlightenment is not the end, she says, but really is just the start of truly living. Groundlessness, then, is being able to be in the moment with no pre-conceived ideas or desires for a particular outcome. It could also be called egolessness.

Where this book comes up short is that it is highly repetitive, especially in the middle chapters. She basically repeats the same exercise for practicing lovingkindness, compassion, joy, and equanimity. I didn't get as much as I would like out of those sections; I think they're more for someone who's in a heavy-duty meditation practice.

I think this book could be easily misinterpreted by someone who picks it at random from a library or bookstore. The stuff that's talked about in here may seem simple or even counter-intuitive, but I believe it's the result of the author's long spiritual journey. Many self-help books and religions advertise that they can cure whatever your problem was in X easy steps (and have testimonials to prove it). The Places That Scare You says that there is relief from suffering, but finding relief is just the beginning.

All her books are wonderful.........., July 22, 2003
Reviewer: Beth Hartford-DeRoos "motherlodebeth" (Jackson, California) - See all my reviews

This is the second copy of this book I have bought, since I gave one copy to the local library because it is so wonderful. The whole book is overflowing with wise, gentle advise or wisdom as I prefer to call it. So many of the Chapters have added value to my life. Especially The Facts of Life which reminds us that life is fluid and never static so learn how to go with the flow and not have you canoe capsize. Or Learning to Stay when one is more apt to want to run away from a challenge. Finding the Ability to Rejoice was an excellent chapter because we humans, especially we Americans are all to apt to be self-centered and looking for what we think we want that we fail to see just how blessed and happy we really are.

The Chapter on the Three Kinds Of Laziness is one most Americans need to read. The first kind of laziness the author shares is based on our tendency to want to avoid inconveniences. Second kind is loss of the heart, or the "poor me" habit. The third kind is the "couldn't care less" type which is often related to resentment. Or giving the world the obscene finger gesture. It's either the world owes me something and I'm not getting it or the idea that because we aren't getting what we think we want we get mad and basically say screw the world and we shut ourselves off from others.

When the Going Gets Rough is also a great chapter because its a good kick in the pants reminder that life is both glorious high peaks where we can savour everything we see, as well as valleys with bogs and tough terrain, which if we would just stop complaining and instead become more observant, could provide wonderful life changing experiences just as great as the mountain top.

In fact I am reminded of how the most successful and happy people often love the process of getting the success more than the success and in fact once they obtain success in something they aren't prone to sit on their buttocks but are quick to seek a new challenge that will provide more life changing and positive lessons.

Read the book, don't get the audio tapes!, April 22, 2002
Reviewer: A reader
Like all of Pema Chodron's books, this one is excellent. It gives sound advice for facing fear and other difficult emotions, and growing from the experience. I had read most of this book a few months ago, but picked it up again when I was trying to make a difficult career decision. Pema's guidance helped me face my fear of making a risky change, rather than ignoring it or giving into it.
The content of the audio tape set is first rate, but the reader's overly earnest, yet breathy style really grated on me. I've tried listening to the tapes again, and just can't get past the voice. First time this has happened with an audio tape like this. No doubt the reader felt she was striking the proper tone for the material, but it didn't work for me.

Pema Chodron, Chödrön (Biography)

Pema Chodron is an American Buddhist nun and one of the foremost students of Chogyam Trungpa, the renowned Tibetan meditation master. She is the author of The Places That Scare You, Comfortable with Uncertainty, The Wisdom of No Escape, Start Where You Are, and the bestselling When Things Fall Apart. Ani Pema ("Ani" is a Tibetan honorific for a nun) is the resident teacher at Gampo Abbey, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, the first Tibetan monastery in North America established for Westerners. 

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