Comfortable with Uncertainty (2003)

In Comfortable with Uncertainty, Pema Chödrön introduces several practices for becoming an awakened warrior-bodhisattva—”warrior” from the Shambhala tradition and “bodhisattva” from the Tibetan Buddhist tradition.

I found her discussion of Tonglen especially interesting. A practice to increase empathy and compassion, one breathes in one’s emotions and releases a positive counterpart of it. So if one is anxious, one leans into the anxiety to become familiar with it and compassionate towards it, breathing in. And then on the out breath, the person releases calm energy. The result is to know oneself better, thereby becoming more compassionate towards oneself. The result is also to know others better by familiarizing oneself to the emotions that we all share. We realize that in our anxiety others experience the same. And so we increase our compassion toward ourselves and toward others.

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