Yelling at Pema Chodron in My Head


I am almost finished reading Pema Chodron’s book WHEN THINGS FALL APART.  Which is a good thing, because otherwise I might start screaming until they come cart me away.  If she says the word tonglen one more time in the last three pages I WILL start screaming.  Or pounding on drums.  Something loud and obnoxious to express my feelings.  Which may be entirely non-Buddhist.  Or maybe not.  My friend Melina says it’s all about just knowing the truth of what is.

So tonight I went to the xo9289*@&^*#.  I’m not allowed to say.  Let me call it the place where I go to talk about how crazy I am because everyone I know is crazy.  That’s the truth of what is.  The world drives me nuts!  Including Pema Chodron!  Her voice on the page is so peaceful I want to kill someone!

Here’s the thing.  Tonglen is this practice in which whatever unacceptable thing you’re feeling–like resentment of a writer who writes about tonglen–is something you then globalize to connect with and have compassion for everyone on the planet who also has resentments about writers who keep mentioning tonglen.  You breathe in all that resentment, and you breathe out peace to everyone suffering from the same resentment you’re suffering from.  (Let’s get real.  How many people are nuts enough to resent Pema Chodron?)

So.  The truth of what is.  I am the oldest of six children in an Irish Catholic family (though my mother is German, the 75 some relatives on my father’s side still makes me Irish).  That makes me responsible for everything!  Racism, homophobia, the lack of world peace, the unfair responsibility Barack Obama had to take on following a moron like Bush…it’s all my fault.  So I’ll be damned if I’m going to start breathing in world resentment on top of that!

I think I feel better now.  Of course, I knew what I was going to write because I just meditated and I started blogging in my head during meditation.  Earlier this week I wrote two Oscar acceptance speeches during meditation, which I must admit is a new low.  I have also been forgetting that I’m supposed to do nothing to alleviate my physical discomfort in meditation and instead to get curious about knowing it deeply and then investigate it.  Turns out I’m a compulsive stretcher (I have chronic back pain).  In this way I avoid being curious about my pain.  But tonight I did remember and tolerated my pain for about 3 minutes.

Obviously, a return to Silenceville is in order.

In the meantime, I’m going to yoga every day, checking out Iyengar for the first time and loving it.  I’m actually driving 35 minutes each way to Down Under Yoga in Newtonville and it is WORTH IT.  Especially since I paid $25 for two weeks of unlimited classes.  I’ll get in at least 14 classes because, well, let it never be said that I do things halfway.

Of course, I just finished my second round of physical therapy, which was much less helpful than the first round, so I decided to put myself on a yoga plan and see what happens.  I will do anything to avoid surgery.

Pema, do I now have to breathe in the avoidance of surgery?

OH MY GOD.

About the film.  Talking to investors or potential investors is hard.  Sometimes they want things I don’t want to give.  I think I may plant a 100 dollar bill in the ground and see what happens.

Or, I may just watch the AMAZING AND FABULOUS Sara, Emily and Chyna work on making the teaser go viral.  This week, we had over 5000 new views.  I am breathing that in (since it is not a negative emotion).  It’s only 3 minutes and 30 seconds of my work, but there are people seeing it in Argentina.  That touches me.  As does the help of Don, William, Anna, John, Marc, Tina…all the people who keep spreading the word.

Someone said to me this week that the story is a good thing in the world.  You know, tonglen or no tonglen, there is always a reason to feel the wonder of humility.  The luck of being the very one you are.

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3 thoughts on “Yelling at Pema Chodron in My Head

  1. Thank you for this fabulous post and for your blog in general. I am so glad I accepted your facebook ‘friendship’ even though I had never met you ( I’m a friend of Ren). Yeah, that book has been driving me nuts for years! Sometimes I try to do Tonglen and it is just the right thing to calm me down and get me back in my body. I tried to work with it on a daily basis a couple of months ago and I went into a dark scary spiral that felt very close to depression. Had to stop reading the book. Not sure where to go with it now, but it is cool and comforting to hear your Pema shout. Thank you, thank you. I wish I was still in Boston so I could see some of your theater work. Take care.
    Anna

  2. Well… Ani Pema is not for the faint of heart that’s for sure! Like most strong medicine, it heals, but is best taken under supervision and in reasonable doses! ;->

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