Ani Pema Chodron
If you are not familiar with Pema Chodron and her work, you are depriving yourself of benefiting from the teachings of one of the most charming and gifted living spiritual teachers of the last 3 decades.
Born in New York City in 1936 as Deirdre Blomfield-Brown, today Ani Pema Chodron is an ordained Buddhist Nun and a highly regarded and beloved teacher, speaker and author. She is the resident teacher at Gampo Abbey, the first Tibetan Monastery for Westerners, in Nova Scotia, Canada. In the mid 1970's, Pema started down a personal path of discovery which led her to pursue the passion she has embraced and shared with millions of followers around the world, including me. Although her teachings are relevant to anyone seeking personal growth, I find that her age and experiences make her particularly sensitive and instructive to those of us in the baby boom generation as we encounter the fears and anxieties that deepen as we age.
Although Pema's practices and teachings are based on the principles of Tibetan Buddhism, I find her wisdom and insight make her communications highly accessible to anyone who is in need of a travel guide as they explore their own path of mindful awareness into their hearts and souls.
Her warmth, compassion, and humor compliment her intimate understanding of the complicated human psyche. She takes ancient principles and practices and with unparalleled skill uses down to earth illustrations to make her teachings easily accessible to everyone, including those of us in the West, who, until the last few decades, have found eastern teachings difficult to absorb.
Pema helps teach us how to confront and embrace our fears, anxieties, and insecurities through a variety of practices including mindfulness, meditation, compassion, joyfulness and happiness.
She emphasizes that this work is not easy, but with commitment and fortitude we can learn coping skills and find peace.
One of my favorite teaching's by Pema is on Shenpa, a Tibetan word for attachment, although Pema is quick to point out that this translation does not do justice to communicating the true meaning of shenpa. In her book "Getting Unstuck" Pema describes shenpa as the feeling of getting hooked. She uses the vivid analogy of having scabies and the resulting constant urge to scratch even when we know it's not good for us. I have incorporated this concept to help me realize when I am allowing my mind to spiral down a painful and debilitating path of fear, anxiety and panic and realizing that I am doing everything I can to surround myself with unhealthy behaviors to reinforce these unrealized fears. Her teachings, particularly on mindfulness and how to stay in the moment with this uncomfortable itch, have helped teach me and millions of others how to stop the scratching and move on to a better place in our minds and in our lives.
If you are already familiar with Pema, you don't need me to say anything more. If you are not yet acquainted with this warm, compassionate woman and her brilliant and inspiring work, I urge you to explore her website and give yourself the gift of introducing yourself to who she is and how her unique understanding, interpretation and communication of the invaluable teachings of ancient practices can take you on an inspiring journey of your own.
"This very moment is the perfect teacher, and, lucky for us, it's with us wherever we go."
(From her book "When Things Fall Apart")
You can order her books or audio downloads from this website by linking to the Amazon website through the search window or clicking on a specific item in the "It's All About Pema" window.
Please join me on this journey. You won't be disappointed!