To stay with that shakiness—to stay with a broken heart, with a rumbling stomach, with the feeling of hopelessness and wanting to get revenge—that is the path of true awakening. Sticking with that uncertainty, getting the knack of relaxing in the midst of chaos, learning not to panic—this is the spiritual path. Getting the knack of catching ourselves, of gently and compassionately catching ourselves, is the path of the warrior. We catch ourselves one zillion times as once again we harden into resentment, bitterness, righteous indignation — harden in any way, even into a sense of relief, a sense of inspiration.
Every day we could think about the aggression in the world, in New York, Los Angeles, Halifax, Taiwan, Beirut, Kuwait, Somalia, Iraq, everywhere. All over the world, everybody always strikes out at the enemy, and the pain escalates forever. Every day we could reflect on this and ask ourselves, “Am I going to add to the agression in the world?” Every day, at the moment at the moment when things get edgy, we can just ask ourselves, “Am I going to practice peace, or am I going to war?”
Pema Chodron, from When things fall apart
More selections of Pema Chodron’s words and work on this blog here.
These are my two favorite books by Pema: