Pema Chodron Quote of the Week

I get these in my email and wanted to share this one today:


The traditional image for equanimity is a banquet to which everyone is invited. That means that everyone and everything, without exception, is on the guest list. Consider your worst enemy. Consider someone who would do you harm. Imagine inviting them to this feast.

Training in equanimity is learning to open the door to all, welcoming all beings, inviting life to come visit. Of course, as certain guests arrive, we’ll feel fear and aversion. We allow ourselves to open the door just a crack if that’s all that we can presently do, and we allow ourselves to shut the door when necessary. Cultivating equanimity is a work in progress. We aspire to spend our lives training in the loving-kindness and courage that it takes to receive whatever appears—sickness, health, poverty, wealth, sorrow, and joy. We welcome and get to know them all.

What she’s saying here is pretty contradictory to the way we all live our lives – we are habitually on a quest to avoid anything unpleasant. I find it’s easier to welcome the unwanted visitors some days more than others, and easy to beat myself up for wanting to turn away from tough stuff on the hard days. Then I remember to welcome even that experience, as well.

This is directly relevant to the source of suffering: clinging to what we prefer and resistance to what we don’t like, and the never ending struggle to predict and control so we can cling and avoid.

The quote is from Pema Chodron’s book The Places That Scare You, and it’s one of my favorites.

What comes up for you as a reaction to the idea of welcoming ALL of the guests, of allowing all of your experiences? You are welcome to join the beginner’s meditation group on Tuesday evenings if this is something you are interested in discussing or hearing more about, or share below.

About Cynthia M Clingan

Cynthia Clingan is a licensed professional clinical counselor in Columbus, Ohio who offers somatic psychotherapy, spiritual coaching, and meditation and mindfulness instruction.
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