For many, spiritual practice represents a way to relax and a way to access peace of mind. We want to feel more calm, more focused; and with our frantic and stressful lives, who can blame us? Nevertheless, we have a responsibility to think bigger that that these days. If spiritual practice is relaxing, if it gives us some peace of mind, that’s great- but is this personal satisfaction helping us to address what’s happening in the world? The main question is, are we living in a way that adds further aggression and self-centeredness to the mix, or are we adding some much-needed sanity? — Pema Chödrön from Taking the Leap: Freeing Ourselves from Old Habits and Fears
Yes, I’ve said many times that contrary to how it’s talked about in the popular media meditation really isn’t about getting blissed out and happy, though, it’s true a deepening understanding about oneself and the nature of reality can certainly, in time, bring equanimity. In the short term however, when one practices deeply one needs to, among other things, also face the darkest things about being human. Sometimes that is a very painful process. For more about that see: Meditation, not all bliss and roses.
More posts on Beyond Meds that feature Pema Chödrön’s work here.
Books by Pema Chödrön
● The Pema Chodron Audio Collection: Pure Meditation:Good Medicine:From Fear to Fearlessness (I really loved this audio!)