Today marks the 80th birthday of Pema Chödrön, a Buddhist nun often described as a “bodhisattva warrior” or one who is motivated by great compassion to assist others in finding enlightenment. While that might sound like a pretty lofty goal, what people love about Pema is her very down to earth approach to bringing mindfulness and meditation to the world. Her popular teachings and books have inspired countless people to find ways to bring more love, peace and compassion to themselves and those around them.
Here are 8 powerful quotes from Pema Chödrön to inspire you in living a mindful life:
It’s also helpful to realize that this very body that we have, that’s sitting right here right now… with its aches and it pleasures… is exactly what we need to be fully human, fully awake, fully alive.
Who doesn’t complain about their body? It’s not enough this or too much that. It changes as we age in ways we don’t always like. What we forget in the midst of this grumbling is that our body is our access point into the world. It’s how we experience all of the wonderful things that are here at our fingers tips each day.
Nothing ever goes away until it has taught us what we need to know.
Darn it, eh? The universe in its benevolent wisdom wants us to learn what we need to learn on our journey. So if we don’t pay attention the first, it will bring us the lesson again…and again…and again.
It isn’t the things that are happening to us that cause us to suffer, it’s what we say to ourselves about the things that are happening.
Yes. It’s not our circumstances that are the problem. It’s how we engage with the circumstances. What we think and say and do about whatever situation we are in creates our experience.
Life is glorious, but life is also wretched. It is both… One inspires us, the other softens us. They go together.
Without dark there is no light, without sorrow there is no joy, without chaos there is no calm. Once we recognize that all things have a counter balance and that the flow between them is perfectly natural, then we can feel less controlled by what is happening and instead more easily be with whatever the day might bring.
If we learn to open our hearts, anyone, including the people who drive us crazy, can be our teacher.
When I find myself being driven crazy by someone – or something – I try to remember that it is simply an opportunity to practice something: patience, tolerance, compassion, kindness. In the face of difficult people or situations, I get to choose to become more of what I value most.
Feeling irritated, restless, afraid, and hopeless is a reminder to listen more carefully.
Being able to stay with the emotions we tend to label as unpleasant takes a little practice. It’s a whole lot easier to run from them or try to replace them with some more pleasant feeling. But what we find when we do stick with them a little longer and listen to what is present is a wealth of information and insight into ourselves.
Rejoicing in ordinary things is not sentimental or trite. It actually takes guts. Each time we drop our complaints and allow everyday good fortune to inspire us, we enter the warrior’s world.
Expressing gratitude is a foundational mindfulness practice. In our busy lives it’s easy to ignore the small blessings that constantly surround us. Bringing our attention and appreciation to the simple things in our everyday lives truly is a radical act in our highly distractible world.
Welcome the present moment as if you had invited it. Why? Because it is all we ever have.
We all love the present moment if what is happening in that moment is something that we have decided is good. We like to skip over the moments that we think are not so good. Mindfulness is about allowing whatever is present in the moment because it is the moment that is happening.
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What’s your favourite Pema Chödrön quote or book?