It’s nice when you find a book that you can sit down with and read the last half of it in one sitting, and learn a heck-of-a-lot in the process.
I want to briefly summarize what I learned from reading this book because it has been extremely helpful. Thanks, JD!
Accept that life is ever-changing; therefore, accept that you cannot maintain stasis because it is impossible. Therefore accept that life is groundless and you are groundless. Therefore accept that change is inevitable and do not struggle against it. When you find yourself struggling, remember that life is supposed to change and it is a good thing, but do not rely on habitual patterns of behavior to deal with the ever-changing state of life. In other words, do not react the same way every time. We do this out of fear of the unknown or fear of failure or fear of something else. The best thing to do is to face your fears head on, do not rely on old ways of dealing with things, push through it, and move past it. Do not let your old way of doing things (including old ways of perceiving your identity) get in the way of true growth. You cannot grow up if you stay in stasis. Your sense of reality will always be false if you never face your fears or rely on habitual behaviors.
You must have unconditional compassion for yourself before you can have unconditional compassion for others. We put limitations and restrictions on others because we struggle with things ourselves. We pass judgments and create barriers to unconditional compassion because of our own insecurities about ourselves. We do not give unconditionally because we do not give to ourselves unconditionally. This is important, and difficult to overcome.
Ultimately, we need to let go and move on. We recreate our identities so that we can keep from moving on. We have to accept that we change as the world changes. And that’s okay.
We have to slow down and live in the present, and enjoy the present moment because it’s the only thing we have. That makes a lot of sense to me because we cannot time travel either direction so clearly it is the present that matters. Yet we so easily get caught up in the past or future: what we did or what we want to do. Or worse, what we wish we would have done. It’s too much. We have to move on.
And most importantly, “Sometimes you just have to let everything fall apart” (170) so that you can reconnect with yourself, your groundlessness, and a clearer sense of reality.
There are a lot of things in this book that I found helpful and relevant to myself at this present moment. I’ve gleaned a lot of strength from the words of Pema Chodron: some of it I already knew, some of it I didn’t. It’s just nice to “hear” it again, and again, and again….