"Embrace Yourself as You Truly Are
One of my most cherished teachers is the gentle but tireless Buddhist nun, Pema Chödrön.
Over the years, I have enjoyed her wonderful books, her timeless wisdom and her gentle and loving approach to life.
Perhaps the most attractive thing about Pema is her insight into the human condition of suffering and the universality of love and compassion.
While it is impossible to distill Pema’s wisdom into one post, I am outlining some of her lessons, guidelines and wisdom.
1. The Preciousness of Every Moment
There is a story of a woman running away from tigers. She runs and runs and the tigers are getting closer and closer. When she comes to the edge of a cliff, she sees some vines there, so she climbs down and holds on to the vines. Looking down, she sees that there are tigers below her as well. She then notices that a mouse is gnawing away at the vine to which she is clinging. She also sees a beautiful little bunch of strawberries close to her, growing out of a clump of grass. She looks up and she looks down. She looks at the mouse. Then she just takes a strawberry, puts it in her mouth, and enjoys it thoroughly. Tigers above, tigers below. This is actually the predicament that we are always in, in terms of our birth and death. Each moment is just what it is. It might be the only moment of our life; it might be the only strawberry we’ll ever eat. We could get depressed about it, or we could finally appreciate it and delight in the preciousness of every single moment of our life.― Pema Chödrön, The Wisdom of No Escape: How to Love Yourself and Your World
I love the story of the tigers and the strawberries and how it highlights that we tend to focus on the tigers of our lives a lot of the time, instead of savoring the strawberries.
We tend to focus on the tigers of our lives instead of savoring the strawberries.
Take a deep breath and take in the deliciousness of life.
Instead of hoping for the future and thinking about the past, look for the delight in the here and the now.
Move slowly and gently, taking it all in. Allow radical kindness and compassion for you and other sentient beings.
Reduce distractions and multitasking… focus on the task at hand and direct your attention to it.
The truth, as Pema so eloquently puts it, is that every moment of the present is a gift or a ‘present’ and we can choose to appreciate it and savor the preciousness of it.
When you redirect your perspective and focus to that simple but undeniable truth, the stories of lack, limitation and tigers might just fall apart."