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Monday, October 24, 2016

Choose Something Different

Pema Chodron, "The Freedom to Choose Something Different" (37 min.)



I love Pema Chodron, and I hadn't listened to her in a long while
when today my sister mentioned finding her helpful after our father's heart attack-- that being an example of the experience Chodron calls "groundlessness"–when your sense of (the illusion of) certainty drops out from under you.

This evening was a good time for me to watch this video because for different reasons I've been experiencing that sea-woozy feeling of groundlessness too

In this talk, Pema Chodrom talks about politics, which I don't think she usually does, and it's very helpful to look at how the macro level mirrors the intimate personal one (and sadly, it's all very topical right now).
She uses September 11, 2001, as an example of how the experience of losing certainty offers an opportunity to do something different: to stay with the uncomfortable but positive openness that results.  
And she talks about how strong the impulse is NOT to sit with that opportunity but to do the usual thing:
to clamp down on even more firmly on certainty because it feels like security, "homeland security," she says wryly. And actually that makes everything worse.


I definitely feel the impulse to respond to groundlessness by nailing down an answer, fixing an interpretation of what's happening, like pinning a butterfly to a board.
But really, I don't know and can't know right now.

I do know from past experience that it's more helpful to choose to live with and to tolerate not-knowing than to rush to judgement and declare the case closed.

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