Sounds True's Freedom to Choose Something Different, Part 2
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Sounds True's Freedom to Choose Something Different, Part 2

Pema Chodron on How to Transform Your Life and Find Lasting Peace and Happiness
4.7 (320 ratings)
Instead of using a simple lifetime average, Udemy calculates a course's star rating by considering a number of different factors such as the number of ratings, the age of ratings, and the likelihood of fraudulent ratings.
3,933 students enrolled
Last updated 7/2016
Current price: $10 Original price: $200 Discount: 95% off
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  • 4.5 hours on-demand video
  • 5 Articles
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
What Will I Learn?
  • Realize what you’re hooked to in terms of negative reactions and behaviors in your daily life
  • Access mindfulness practices and meditations that will allow you to reprogram your reactions and habits
  • Achieve greater levels of joy and freedom by understanding that you have a choice in the way that you react to circumstances in life
  • Change the way that you react by finally unhooking yourself from past patterns
View Curriculum
  • There are no requirements to take this course. All you need is the time to watch or listen to the lectures and implement the practices.

In part two of the "Freedom to Choose Something Different" program, Pema Chodron, a respected and popular Buddhist nun, helps students transform themselves for the better.

If you’re interested in evolving into the best possible person that you can be, you’ll need to be brave enough to recognize your own negative habits. Beyond that, you’ll also need to work hard to replace those patterns with positive ones.

Pema guides you through the process of not only reflecting upon your actions, but also the steps necessary to change.

Choose to Release Negative Habits and Patterns for Good

  • Recognize the Negative Behaviors That You’re Hooked To
  • Learn Mindfulness Techniques and Meditations for Inner Peace, Joy, & Freedom
  • Replace Old Patterns with Positive Actions
  • Practice Lovingkindness Towards Yourself and Others

React in a Positive Way to Welcome Joy and Freedom into Your Life
This course will show you how to establish a lifelong practice that will allow you recognize patterns of behavior that are holding you back from joy and freedom.

You’ll learn that you do have the freedom to choose a different path for yourself, and that you do have the ability to change, especially when you implement mindfulness techniques into your life.

Pema Chodron will also teach you lovingkindness so you can be gentle to yourself, particularly as you move from a state of being hooked to negative habits, to a state of being free of those patterns.

Contents and Overview
This course starts off with a discussion on the Three Difficult Practices, the first of which is noticing when you’re hooked to old patterns that are holding you back from joy.

As you explore what it’s like being hooked (or what’s known in Tibetan Buddhism as shenpa), you’ll also learn why people become hooked in the first place.  

You’ll begin to comprehend how to break old patterns, as well as establish a new way of reacting to situations and people in your life.  

In order to prevent you from being too hard on yourself for any negative habits, you’ll even learn how to practice lovingkindness towards others and yourself.

To further understand how to unhook yourself and achieve freedom and joy, you’ll explore a mindfulness-awareness practice and a meditation that you can implement into your daily life.

Finally, you’ll discover what it really means to choose a new alternative.

You’ll know exactly how to avoid following the same old chain reaction so you can become more positive, grounded, and light.

Bonus material features Glenna Olmsted, and you’ll learn even more ways to apply Pema’s teachings.

By the end of this course, you’ll be able to apply Pema’s teachings and practices with ease while creating a life filled with joy and freedom.

You’ll know how to recognize and unhook yourself from negative patterns of behavior so you can heal yourself and help others.

Who is the target audience?
  • Anyone interested in learning about Buddhism and Buddhist philosophy
  • Anyone who wishes to change for the better by releasing negative habits
  • Anyone who hopes to replace negative aspects of themselves with positive ones
Compare to Other Mindfulness Courses
Curriculum For This Course
14 Lectures
Being Kind to Yourself
5 Lectures 01:34:28

In this section, we'll begin discussing some of the key tools that can assist you on this journey of transforming your relationship with your mind. In particular, we'll explore the value of loving kindness, or maitri, and how it helps lighten the process of getting unstuck. We'll also discuss how cultivating full attention, gentleness, and honesty can help us on the path to liberation.


  • How to become aware of the underlying energy of a feeling
  • Noticing a hook as neither good or bad
  • Letting the reality of a situation soften your heart
Introduction to Section 1

Questions for Reflection:

  • How has your awareness of noticing when you're “hooked” shifted, if at all, since beginning this course?
  • How have your responses to shenpa shifted, if at all, since beginning this course?
Preview 12:34

Practice Tip: Continue this week to be aware of shenpa as it arises in your experience. Begin to carefully notice the way shenpa arises for you—as a particular pattern of thought, certain sensations in the body, as an obvious feeling-state, etc. See if you can begin to catch the shenpa before you react from it.

Catching Shenpa as Extremely Good News

Questions for Reflection:
  • What is your inner response when you uncover something within you that you don't like—for example, when you catch yourself becoming angry, jealous, or treating another person unkindly? Please write about a recent example.
  • What is your understanding of the concept of maitri, or lovingkindness? In what ways are you kind to yourself? In what ways are you not kind to yourself? Please write about examples of both.

Practice Tip: Begin to pay careful attention this week to the degree to which you are kind to yourself. What have you discovered?
Maitri and the Art of Lovingkindness

Questions for Reflection:

  • What is your understanding and experience of Pema's teaching to “let go of the storyline and relax into the underlying energy”? Write about an example in which you were able to do this.
  • One of the key qualities of maitri is what Pema simply refers to as self-honesty. How honest are you with yourself, about yourself? To what degree do you believe you hold this type of “inner integrity”?
  • If you were to be completely honest with yourself in this moment, without holding back, what would you say?

Practice Tip: Begin to notice this week the ways in which you are not fully honest with yourself. Write about an observation you had in this area.

Letting Go of the Storyline
The Practice of Meditation and Its Relevance to Shenpa
2 Lectures 45:44

As we go deeper into shenpa, our minds can develop innovative ways to keep us stuck. Drawing on her years of practice, Pema offers guidance and tools for navigating these situations. With a special focus on meditation, we can learn how this practice brings us back to the present—a vital aspect of working with shenpa.


  • How breathing through the heart can help us choose something different
  • Thoughts in meditation as the most subtle form of shenpa, and how to unhook from them
  • Tips for reconnecting to our direct experience and coming back to the present
Introduction to Section 2

Questions for Reflection:
  • What was your experience during the guided meditation?
  • What is your understanding of the connection between sitting meditation and shenpa practice? How are they related? How does one affect the other?
  • What is your understanding and experience of how practice is a way to “poke holes in the clouds”? What does this phrase mean to you?

Practice Tip: Engage in some form of contemplative practice for at least twenty minutes each day this week. At the end of the week, write about the effect this practice had on your life, your perception, and/or on your relationships with others.

The Practice of Meditation and Its Relevance to Shenpa
Choosing a Fresh Alternative
4 Lectures 01:25:46

We've learned how to notice when we get hooked and the ways that we try to deal with our discomfort. But what does it really mean to pause and choose “something different”? In this section, we uncover more complex layers of the act of choosing a fresh alternative so that we can learn how to make our exploration of shenpa a way of life.


  • Exploring your unique flavor and moods of being hooked
  • The most common ways we repress our experiences
  • Being curious about what being hooked feels like
  • How to weed out the seeds of resistance
  • Guidance for continuously moving toward an experience rather than away from it
Introduction to Section 3

Questions for Reflection:

  • Please write about an example in which you experienced shenpa and then repressed your experience, as Pema defines the term. Then, write about an example in which you “acted it out.”
  • How has your awareness and experience of shenpa shifted during your time in this course?

Practice Tip:
Notice this week the ways in which you repress or act out your experience. At the end of the week, write about what you've observed.
Repressing and Acting Out

Questions for Reflection:

  • What does “being hooked” feel like to you? What are the specific qualities of this experience for you? Do you notice any patterns in the way this happens for you?
  • Write about a specific example in which you “chose a fresh alternative.” What does this mean to you? What does it require? What does it actually feel like to choose something different and not go with the momentum of the chain reaction?

Practice Tip: Experiment this week with choosing a fresh alternative in a situation where you would normally engage in habitual patterns of speech or action. Write about your experience.

Doing Something Different

Questions for Reflection:
  • What were the most important things you learned in this course, about yourself and your relationship to being hooked—to shenpa?
  • What are your plans for continuing with this practice after the course is over? How do you plan to integrate these teachings/practices into your life?

Practice Tip: Spend this week observing your relationship with shenpa and any changes or shifts that have occurred since beginning this course. At the end of the week, write about your experience.
Returning to Immediate Experience
BONUS MATERIAL - Live Session with Glenna Olmstead
3 Lectures 01:01:43
Live Session with Glenna Olmsted: Part 2

BONUS: Learn More from Pema Chödrön

Bonus Lecture
About the Instructor
Pema Chödrön
4.6 Average rating
3,744 Reviews
21,540 Students
3 Courses

Ani Pema Chödrön was born Deirdre Blomfield-Brown in 1936, in New York City. She attended Miss Porter's School in Connecticut and graduated from the University of California at Berkeley. She taught as an elementary school teacher for many years in both New Mexico and California. Pema has two children and three grandchildren.

While in her mid-thirties, Ani Pema traveled to the French Alps and encountered Lama Chime Rinpoche, with whom she studied for several years. She became a novice nun in 1974 while studying with Lama Chime in London. His Holiness the Sixteenth Karmapa came to Scotland at that time, and Ani Pema received her ordination from him.

Pema first met her root guru, Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, in 1972. Lama Chime encouraged her to work with Rinpoche, and it was with him that she ultimately made her most profound connection, studying with him from 1974 until his death in 1987. At the request of the Sixteenth Karmapa, she received the full bikshuni ordination in the Chinese lineage of Buddhism in 1981 in Hong Kong.

Ani Pema served as the director of Karma Dzong in Boulder, Colorado until moving in 1984 to rural Cape Breton, Nova Scotia to be the director of Gampo Abbey. Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche gave her explicit instructions on establishing this monastery for western monks and nuns.

Ani Pema currently teaches in the United States and Canada and plans for an increased amount of time in solitary retreat under the guidance of Venerable Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche. She is also a student of Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, the oldest son and lineage holder of Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche.

Ani Pema is interested in helping establish Tibetan Buddhist monasticism in the West, as well as continuing her work with western Buddhists of all traditions, sharing ideas and teachings. Her non-profit, The Pema Chödrön Foundation, was set up to assist in this purpose.

She has written several books: The Wisdom of No Escape, Start Where You Are, When Things Fall Apart, The Places that Scare You, No Time To Lose,Practicing Peace in Times of War, How to Meditate, and Living Beautifully. All are available from Shambhala Publications and Sounds True.

Sounds True
4.6 Average rating
8,678 Reviews
49,343 Students
18 Courses
Publisher of book, audio, and video titles in the fields of self-development, personal growth, and spirituality

Sounds True was founded in 1985 by Tami Simon with a clear mission: to disseminate spiritual wisdom. Since starting out as a project with one woman and her tape recorder, we have grown into a multimedia publishing company with more than 80 employees, a library of more than 600 titles featuring some of the leading teachers and visionaries of our time, and an ever-expanding family of customers from across the world. In more than two decades of growth, change, and evolution, Sounds True has maintained its focus on its overriding purpose, as summed up in our Vision Statement:

Sounds True exists to inspire, support, and serve personal transformation and spiritual awakening.

Sounds True is an independent multimedia publishing company that embraces the world's major spiritual traditions, as well as the arts and humanities, embodied by the leading authors, teachers, and visionary artists of our time. Our approach to publishing is not dependent on a single format or technology—rather, we strive with every title to preserve the essential "living wisdom" of the author, artist, or spiritual teacher. It is our goal to create products that not only provide information to a reader or listener, but that also embody the essential quality of a wisdom transmission between a teacher and a student.

Throughout the years, Sounds True has developed a guiding philosophy that we call "multiple bottom lines." Our dedication to this principle is embodied in our Mission Statement:

The mission of Sounds True is to find teachers and artists who serve as a gateway to spiritual awakening and to produce, publish, and distribute their work with beauty, intelligence, and integrity. We treat our authors, vendors, and partners in the same way we would want to be treated. We work flexibly and efficiently together to create a cooperative, loving environment that honors respectful authenticity and individual growth. We maintain a healthy level of profitability so that we are an independent and sustainable employee-owned organization.

The three essential bottom lines for Sounds True are the integrity of our purpose, the well-being of our people, and the maintaining of healthy profits. All three of these priorities are important in the decisions we make as a company. It is our conviction that each of these bottom lines must be healthy for the company to prosper as a whole.

In our history as a publisher, Sounds True has produced a wide variety of formats in order to fulfill our goal of disseminating spiritual wisdom.