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How do we remain grounded in the now when life is falling apart?
Today’s post is a collection of quotes from a Buddhist nun who is one of the most influential modern teachers of spirituality — Pema Chödrön.
Pema Chödrön was born in New York City, in 1936, as Deirdre Blomfield-Brown. In the 1970’s, she lived a pretty conventional life. She was married to a lawyer and was a mother of two children. She worked as an elementary school teacher.
Pema and her husband eventually divorced. Her second marriage also did not last. She went into depression and struggled to break through it.
Her enlightenment came when she studied with several Buddhist teachers. In 1981, she became the first American woman to become a fully ordained Buddhist nun.
Finding peace regardless of the circumstances in our lives is a topic that Pema discusses well. Her writing appeals to readers because of their universality.
She has written books such as “The Wisdom of No Escape,” “Start Where You Are,” and “When Things Fall Apart.”
If you are interested to learn how to develop the habit of mindfulness, I invite you to check out The Mindfulness Journal. It contains daily writing prompts that develop your appreciation of each day and reduce your stress and anxiety.
In this article, we’ve compiled 57 Pema Chödrön quotes to live a more mindful life. Regardless of what’s going on in our world, it’s essential to be present here and now.
First, here are some Pema Chödrön quotes on inner peace. May these wise words lead you on the path of true happiness.
Pema Chödrön Quotes: Inner Peace
- “As long as our orientation is toward perfection or success, we will never learn about unconditional friendship with ourselves, nor will we find compassion.“
- “When we are training in the art of peace, we are not given any promises that, because of our noble intentions, everything will be okay. In fact, there are no promises of fruition at all. Instead, we are encouraged to simply look deeply at joy and sorrow, at laughing and crying, at hoping and fearing, all that lives and dies. We learn that what truly heals is gratitude and tenderness.”
- “One can appreciate and celebrate each moment — there’s nothing more sacred. There’s nothing more vast or absolute. In fact, there’s nothing more!”
- “The happiness we seek is already here and it will be found through letting go rather than through struggle.”
- “Whether we’re seeking inner peace or global peace or a combination of the two, the way to experience it is to build on the foundation of unconditional openness to all that arises. Peace isn’t an experience free of challenges, free of rough and smooth, it’s an experience that’s expansive enough to include all that arises without feeling threatened.”
- “Clarity and decisiveness come from the willingness to slow down, to listen and look at what’s happening.”
“Don’t let people pull you into their storm. Pull them into your peace.” – Pema Chödrön
- “Don’t let people pull you into their storm. Pull them into your peace.”
- “Inner peace begins the moment you choose not to allow another person or event to control your emotions.”
- “This very moment is the perfect teacher.“
- “Every day we think about the aggression in the world. Everybody always strikes out at the enemy, and the pain escalates forever. We could reflect on this and ask ourselves, ‘Am I going to add to the aggression in the world?’ Everyday we can ask ourselves, ‘Am I going to practice peace, or am I going to war?’”
A heartbreak can put everything in your life to a standstill. However, it can also be a great teacher.
Pema Chödrön had her share of heartbreaks. But instead of letting her experiences overwhelm her, she chose to take the lessons. She then shared with the rest of the world what she learned when she faced the pain.
These Pema Chödrön quotes on heartbreak show us that even in the midst of the most painful experience there is a lesson to be learned. And this lesson usually leads us to a better, more meaningful life.
Pema Chödrön Quotes on Heartbreak
- “If someone comes along and shoots and arrow into your heart, it’s fruitless to stand there and yell at the person. It would be much better to turn your attention to the fact that there’s an arrow in your heart.”
- “Don’t let life harden your heart.”
- “If we learn to open our hearts, anyone, including the people who drive us crazy, can be our teacher.”
- “Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand that this, too, was a gift.”
- “People get into a heavy-duty sin and guilt trip, feeling that if things are going wrong, it means they did something bad and they are being punished. That’s not the idea at all. The idea of karma is that you continually get the teachings that you need to open your heart. To the degree that you didn’t understand in the past how to stop protecting your soft spot, how to stop armoring your heart, you’re given this gift of teachings in the form of your life, to give you everything you need to open further.”
- “Only to the extent that we expose ourselves over and over to annihilation can that which is indestructible in us be found.“
According to Pema Chödrön, meditation brings out our best qualities. Meditating is not a way of becoming a “better” person. It is, however, a way of understanding ourselves in a deeper way.
There are different ways to meditate. And all these different techniques help us become mindful to what’s going on around us.
May these Pema Chödrön meditation quotes encourage you to open your heart and mind and be present now, experiencing life just as it is.
Pema Chödrön Meditation Quotes
- “In practicing meditation, we’re not trying to live up to some kind of ideal — quite the opposite. We’re just being with our experience, whatever it is.”
- “Nothing ever goes away until it has taught us what we need to know.”
- “It helps to remember that our practice is not about accomplishing anything – not about winning or losing – but about ceasing to struggle and relaxing as it is. That is what we are doing when we sit down to meditate. That attitude spreads into the rest of our lives.”
- “Meditation practice is not about later, when you get it all together and you’re this person you really respect.”
- “We don’t sit in meditation to become good meditators. We sit in meditation so that we’ll become more awake in our lives.“
- “Meditation practice isn’t about trying to throw ourselves away and become something better. It’s about befriending who we are already.”
“Meditation practice isn’t about trying to throw ourselves away and become something better. It’s about befriending who we are already.” – Pema Chödrön
- “If you ask why we meditate, I would say it’s so we can become more flexible and tolerant to the present moment.”
- “One of the main discoveries of meditation is seeing how we continually run away from the present moment, how we avoid being here just as we are.”
- “Meditation takes us just as we are, with our confusion and our sanity. This complete acceptance of ourselves as we are is called maitri, or unconditional friendliness, a simple, direct relationship with the way we are.”
- “Meditation is a totally nonviolent, nonaggressive occupation.”
Buddhism recognizes the impermanence of things.
Usually, it is our attachment to relationships, material wealth, our status, etc., that causes our suffering. The only way to experience true happiness is to accept that change is inevitable and by never becoming attached to anything.
Actually, change can be a good thing. It gives us the chance to start all over.
These Pema Chödrön quotes on change serve as reminders that change is our constant companion in life and that it brings grief when we resist it.
Pema Chödrön Quotes: Change
- “When we resist change, it’s called suffering. But when we can completely let go and not struggle against it, when we can embrace the groundlessness of our situation and relax into its dynamic quality, that’s called enlightenment.”
- “Interrupting our destructive habits and awakening our heart is the work of a lifetime.”
- “Sometimes when things fall apart, well, that’s the big opportunity to change.”
- “That nothing is static or fixed, that all is fleeting and impermanent, is the first mark of existence.”
- “When things are shaky and nothing is working, we might realize that we are on the verge of something.”
- “When you open yourself to the continually changing, impermanent, dynamic nature of your own being and of reality, you increase your capacity to love and care about other people and your capacity not to be afraid.”
- “If you’re invested in security and certainty, you are on the wrong planet.”
- “Things falling apart is a kind of testing and also 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 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.”
- “Everything changes when you start to emit your own frequency rather than absorbing the frequencies around you. When you start imprinting your intent on the universe rather than receiving an imprint from existence.“
Aside from heartbreak, one other thing that paralyzes us is fear.
They prevent us from reaching our potentials. Often, we let opportunities pass because we are afraid.
May these quotes by Pema Chödrön on fear inspire you to face what you are afraid of the most head on in order to fully live.
Quotes by Pema Chödrön on Fear
- “Fear is a natural reaction to moving closer to the truth.”
- “A further sign of health is that we don’t become undone by fear and trembling, but we take it as a message that it’s time to stop struggling and look directly at what’s threatening us.”
- “Running from the immediacy of our experience is like preferring death to life.”
- “When we are willing to stay even a moment with uncomfortable energy, we gradually learn not to fear it.”
- “Start now. Start where you are. Start with fear. Start with pain. Start with doubt. Start with hands shaking. Start with voice trembling but start. Start and don’t stop. Start where you are, with what you have. Just… start.”
- “Do I prefer to grow up and relate to life directly, or do I choose to live and die in fear?”
- “There is a teaching that says that behind all the hardening and tightening and rigidity of the heart, there’s always fear. But if you touch fear, behind fear there is a soft spot you find that which is ineffable, ungraspable, and unbiased, that which can support and awaken us at any time.”
- “No one ever tells us to stop running away from fear…. The advice we usually get is to sweeten it up, smooth it over, take a pill, distract ourselves, but by all means make it go away.“
Too often, we get caught up in our pain and disappointments to see how wonderful life can be.
May these inspiring Pema Chödrön quotes show you how to be present as life unfolds in all its glory.
Inspiring Pema Chödrön Quotes
- “To lead a life that goes beyond pettiness and prejudice and always wanting to make sure that everything turns out to our own terms, to lead a more passionate, full, and delightful life than that, we must realize we can endure a lot of pain and pleasure for the sake of finding out who we are and what this world is.”
- “Our neurosis and our wisdom are made out of the same material.”
“Our neurosis and our wisdom are made out of the same material.” – Pema Chödrön
- “Having compassion starts and ends with having compassion for all those unwanted parts of ourselves, all those imperfections that we don’t even want to look at. Compassion isn’t some kind of self-improvement project or ideal that we’re trying to live up to.”
- “Everything is fresh, the essence of realization.“
- “We can use our difficulties and problems to awaken our hearts.”
- “When there’s a big disappointment, we don’t know if that’s the end of the story. It may be just the beginning of a great adventure.”
- “We are not striving to make pain go away or to become a better person. In fact, we are giving up control all together and letting concepts and ideals fall apart. This starts with realizing that whatever occurs is neither the beginning nor the end. It is just the same kind of normal human experience that’s been happening to everyday people from the beginning of time.”
- “The more you try to get it your way, the less you feel at home.”
- “Live your life as an experiment.”
- “Nobody but yourself can tell you what to accept and what to reject.”
- “Resentment, bitterness, and holding a grudge prevent us from seeing and hearing, and tasting and delighting.”
- “Compassion is not a relationship between the healer and the wounded. It’s a relationship between equals. Only when we know our own darkness well can we be present with the darkness of others.”
- “Patience is the antidote to anger, a way to learn to love and care for whatever we meet on the path.”
- “The first noble truth says simply that it’s part of being human to feel discomfort.“
Final Thoughts on Pema Chödrön Quotes
When we get too attached to something, whether it’s a relationship, our social status, or physical appearance, we feel so much pain when the objects of our attachment disappear.
Often, our heartbreak cuts us off from the real beauty of life.
To live a mindful life is to experience true and lasting happiness. It invites us to focus on now and appreciating what is.
If you are interested in knowing how to live in the present moment, I recommend you check out The Mindfulness Journal. It features daily writing prompts designed to enhance your appreciation for every moment of the day and lessen your stress and anxiety.
If any of the Pema Chödrön quotes resonated with you, we’d like to hear about your thoughts. Feel free to share them in the comments below.
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Be present. Be happy!
And if you want more inspirational quotes, be sure to check out these blog posts:
- 47 Uplifting Grief Quotes for Dealing with Loss & Pain
- 107 Quotes About Overcoming Adversity and Challenges in Your Life
- 35 Motivational David Goggins Quotes to Inspire Hard Work
Finally, if you want to use these quotes to make a lasting change to your life, then check out and recite these 57 affirmations for success.