The Places That Scare You: A Guide to Fearlessness in Difficult Times

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Pema Chodron’s The Places that Scare You is a book focused on one of the keystones of Buddhist thinking: letting go. The book describes the idea from several angles, all of them coming down to the fundamental idea that happiness comes when you learn to stop struggling–against yourself, against your feelings, against others, against what scares you. The central notion of the book is to notice your feelings, both good and bad, and accept them, learning along the way to stop shutting down or digging into your feelings when you encounter something uncomfortable or challenging. And from learning to accept all kinds of feelings in ourselves, we can start learning to accept and be compassionate with others.

Chodron writes with a simple but articulate style that you might find familiar if you’ve read other Buddhist-inspired writers. Her writing feels intimate and demonstrates the sort of compassionate feeling the book encourages you to extend yourself and others. I found particularly useful the idea that learning to practice acceptance and compassion is like the kind of physical training you would put in for, say, a marathon. It encourages you to see feeling kindness for yourself and others not as weak or simpering, as our culture often depicts it, but as a challenge that requires training and strength and tolerance for discomfort. As someone often overwhelmed with the apparent cruelty and selfishness of the world, I found Chodron’s framing of the idea that we need compassion rather than anger or disbelief to move forward powerful and affecting.

Reviewed By:

Author Pema Chodron
Star Count /5
Format Trade
Page Count 144 pages
Publisher Shambhala
Publish Date 8/21/2018
ISBN 9.78161E+12 Buy this Book
Issue April 2019
Category Self-Help


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