In this article, Pema Chodron excerpts her book From The Places That Scare You: A Guide to Fearlessness in Difficult Times to offer four ways to hold our minds steady and hearts open when facing difficult people or circumstances.
The most straightforward advice on awakening enlightened mind is this: practice not causing harm to anyone—yourself or others—and every day, do what you can to be helpful. If we take this instruction to heart and begin to use it, we will probably find that it is not so easy. Before we know it, someone has provoked us, and either directly or indirectly, we’ve caused harm.
Therefore, when our intention is sincere but the going gets rough, must of us could use some help. We could use some fundamental instruction on how to lighten up and turn around our well-established habits of striking out and blaming.
The four methods for holding our seat provide just such support for developing the patience to stay open to what’s happening instead of acting on automatic pilot. These four methods are:
not setting up the target for the arrow,
connecting with the heart,
seeing obstacles as teachers, and
regarding all that occurs as a dream.
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