The places that scare us
I have been struggling a bit this past week with feelings of being overwhelmed and tired and that old black dog has been nipping at my heels. So, I thought I had better re-read one of my go-to books – Pema Chödrön’s The Places That Scare You, because going where that black dog wants to lead, is definitely a place that scares me.
The great lesson that Chödrön teaches is that what we actually struggle against is life, but it is the very nature of life that we both get what we want and what we don’t want. Life is about experiencing it as it comes, just as it comes, the good parts and the bad parts.
The temptation is to run away from the feelings of panic, fear, anxiety, anger, whatever the emotion that threatens to overwhelm.
Most of us do not take these situations as teachings. We automatically hate them. We run like crazy. We use all kinds of ways to escape — all addictions stem from this moment when we meet our edge and we just can’t stand it. (Chödrön: When Things Fall Apart)
Chödrön tells us this is the point where we should sit and be with the pain and the discomfort and not try to block it out or shut down. This place is “where the warrior learns compassion. It’s where we learn to stop struggling with ourselves. It’s only when we can dwell in these places that scare us that equanimity becomes unshakable.”
So that is my lesson for today…to dwell in that place that scares me in this moment for “this very moment is the perfect teacher, and, lucky for us, it’s with us wherever we are.”
What are some of the places that scare you? How do you deal with these times? Do Chödrön’s teachings resonate with you?