One path on an uncommon journey

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Who is wiser - my granddaughter Bella or Tibetan nun Pema Chodron?

Several years ago, we were in the middle of our Saturday night ritual - granddaughters and Chinese take out. Dawn always ordered the food and Bella and I would go and pick it up.
After a rough week at work, and a particularly rough Saturday, I tried to slip out the door without Bella. She caught me, saying that we 'ALWAYS' picked up the food together. As I buckled her into to her car seat, her talking did not skip a beat, even as I closed the door and walked around to the driver's side.
After a short drive she asked why I was so quiet. I informed her that I was in a bad mood and was having a bad day. Bella, in her infinite wisdom and old soul ways, said 'Papa, everyday is a good day. Maybe your teacher told you you had painted a pretty picture or you saw a beautiful flower. And, somedays you might even make a new friend. Everyday is a good day.' How could I continue in a bad mood after that?

I stumbled upon Pema Chodron several years ago during my ongoing quest for inner peace. She is known as the Western hemisphere's foremost ranking Tibetan nun and teacher. Her down-to-earth interpretations of Tibetan Buddhism, learned as a disciple of Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, are charming, enjoyable and understandable--not the norm when it comes to some Eastern philosophers and teachers.
Her book 'The Pocket Pema Chodron,' published by Shambala Pocket Classics, is a wonderful reference, resource and inspiration. I flip through it on a (mostly) daily basis and find comfort in every crisis that occurs.

I was having a difficult time during a family member's crisis and I found the following chapter:
Chapter 53
When things fall apart
Things falling apart is a kind of testing or a kind of healing. We think that the point is to pass the test or to overcome the problem, but the truth is that things don't really get solved. They come together and they fall apart. Then they come together and fall apart again. It's just like that. The healing comes from letting there be room for all of this to happen: room for grief, for relief, for misery, for joy.

That's it, the whole chapter. Powerful stuff in a paragraph. That is what the book is 188 pages, 108 chapters. Inspiration to help deal with destructive patterns, develop patience, being kinder and more understanding.

Check out chapter 35 - 'Have no expectations just be kind.' 
'A meditation student I was working with, whom we'll call Dan, had  a serious drug and alcohol problem. he was really making great strides, and then he went on a binge. On the day I found out about it I happened to have an opportunity to see my teacher Trunga Rinpoche. I blurted out to him how upset I was about that Dan had gone on a binge. I was so disappointed. Rinpoche got really angry; it completely stopped my heart and mind. He said that being upset was my problem. "You should never have expectations for other people. Just be kind to them," he told me. In terms of Dan, I should just help him keep walking forward inch by inch and be kind to him--invite him to dinner, give him little gifts, and do anything to bring some happiness to his life--instead of having these big goals for him. He said setting goals for others can be aggressive--really wanting a success story for ourselves.

This was a great help to me when dealing with a friend with an addiction problem. In actuality it is about understanding yourself, not the other person's problem.

That's what this book does. It's about self realization and understanding. It's about finding your way and making the world a better place. Trust me it will fit in a shirt pocket or your purse and well worth the $6.95.

Please vote on  who you think is wiser!


  1. As far as who is the wisest, I'm gonna go with Pema. Bella is much cuter, just lacking some experience.

  2. This sounds like a great book! Maybe we should buy some copies of it and give it to certain people as a gift.

  3. I agree, Uncle Dennis ...however, I think there can be infinite wisdom in lack of experience. Here's why: I believe we are put on this earth perfect - we are born perfect. I believe we are born knowing everything we need to know, and we're put on this earth to EXPERIENCE and REMEMBER what we already know in our souls. Therefore, there in a remarkable amount of wisdom in a child - she absorbs things, without judgment, I'm a beautiful and innocent way. My money's on Bella. Miss you. -Christine

    1. Beautifully put by one of my favorite, beautiful young ladies! Bella is definitely an 'old soul' and I will be doing a blog on that kind of thing later. Miss you, love you and hope to see you soon!