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
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.
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.
Questions for Reflection:
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.
Questions for Reflection:
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.
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.
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.
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.
Questions for Reflection:
Questions for Reflection:
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.
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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.