More quotes from Pema Chodron

Taken from Pema Chodron’s book, Start Where You Are: A guide to compassionate living

We already have everything we need. There is no need for self-improvement. All these trips we lay on ourselves–the heavy-duty fearing that we’re bad and hoping that we’re good, the identities that we so dearly cling to, the rage, the jealousy and addictions of all kinds–never touch our basic wealth. They are like clouds that temporarily block the sun. But all the time our warmth and brilliance are right here. This is who we really are. We are one blink away from being fully awake.

Looking at ourselves this way is very different from our usual habit. From this perspective we don’t need to change: you can feel as wretched as you like, and you’re still a good candidate for enlightenment. You can feel like the world’s most hopeless basket case, but that feeling is your wealth, not something to be thrown out or improved upon. There’s a richness to all of the smelly stuff that we so dislike, and so little desire. The delightful things–what we love so dearly about ourselves, the places in which we feel some sense of pride or inspiration–these also are our wealth.

Only to the degree that we’ve gotten to know our personal pain, only to the degree that we’ve related with pain at all, will we be fearless enough, brave enough, and enough of a warrior to be willing to feel the pain of others. To that degree we will be able to take on the pain of others because we will have
discovered that their pain and our pain are not different.

and then later:

Although it is embarrassing and painful, it is very healing to stop hiding from yourself. It is healing to know all the ways that you’re sneaky, all the ways that you hide out, all the ways that you shut down, deny, close off, criticize people, all your weird little ways. You can know all of that with some sense of humor and kindness. By knowing yourself, you’re coming to know humanness altogether. We are all up against these things. We are all in this together.

For another post with some of Pema Chodron’s quotes look here.

5 thoughts on “More quotes from Pema Chodron

  1. ‘When Things Fall Apart’ is an amazing, amazing book. Thank-you for posting a quote from Pema Chodron. I really needed this today.

    It is absolutely phenomenal what you are doing for yourself and so many others with this website. I truly, from the bottom of my heart mean that….take care.


  2. “My life is rather surreal…both the very best is happening to me as the worst does too…I feel like a living paradox”

    I love this quote from you and find it very helpful…


  3. Hi, Gianna – Thanks for these quotes – they’re very helpful to the posts I’m working on just now. I am getting into Pema Chodron’s books, though not this one you quote from, and she is a continuing inspiration.

    Congratulations on this wonderful new site with all its great features. You’re really expanding this in important ways. It’s hard to believe that you’re so sick at the same time!

    I hope you get well – really well – soon.

    All my best — John


    1. thank you John,
      I frankly amaze myself everyday…
      But it’s because I truly have a sense of purpose that I don’t despair in my illness. Not that I don’t have moments of great despair, I do, but underneath it all I feel a sense of direction I’ve never had before.

      It was something I couldn’t get in touch with as long as I was on the meds. And now I am in touch with it. My life is rather surreal…both the very best is happening to me as the worst does too…I feel like a living paradox.

      I have several of Pema Chodron’s books…they are all good…the one on Fear is great and also When things Fall Apart is great. And I’m sure just about everything else.


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