Pema Chodron on gratitude

I was reading in Pema Chodron’s Comfortable with Uncertainty, (p. 163-164) this morning and decided to share the following with you.  It reminds me that at the heart of healing is complete forgiveness of everyone (including ourselves) and total gratitude towards all (including ourselves). . .

“Be grateful to everyone”

“Be grateful to everyone” is about making peace with the aspects of ourselves that we have rejected.  Through doing that, we also make peace with the people we dislike.  More to the point, being around people we dislike can be a catalyst for making friends with ourselves.

If we were to make a list of people we don’t like – people we fine obnoxious, threatening, or worthy of contempt – we would discover much about those aspects of ourselves that we can’t face.  If we were to come up with one word about each of the troublemakers in our lives, we would find ourselves with a list of descriptions of our own rejected qualities.  We project these onto the outside world.  The people who repel us unwittingly show us aspects of ourselves that we find unacceptable, which otherwise we can’t see.  Traditional lojong teachings say it another way:  other people trigger the karma that we haven’t worked out.  They mirror us and give us the chance to befriend all of that ancient stuff that we carry around like a backpack full of granite boulders.

“Be grateful to everyone” is a way of saying that we can learn from any situation, especially if we practice this slogan with awareness.  The people and situations in our lives can remind us to catch neurosis as neurosis – to see when we’ve pulled the shades, locked the door, and crawled under the covers.”

Thank you, each and all, for not pulling the shade or locking the door – and for your many contributions of healing energy!

Leave a Reply