Living Beautifully with Uncertainty and Change

Spirituality & Health Magazine
reviewed by Kristine Morris

by Pema Chodron

In her latest book, the beloved American Buddhist nun, author, and teacher Pema Chödrön affirms that it is possible to live beautifully, compassionately, and happily even as the ground shakes beneath us.

“Turning toward the intensity of life and welcoming it not only gives you a direct experience of impermanence and death and selflessness, it also gives you an appreciation for the groundlessness of life, for life as it really is,” she writes.

Living Beautifully with Uncertainty and Change, based on Chödrön’s Omega Institute workshop of the same name, teaches us how the traditional Buddhist practice of the Three Vows (or Three Commitments) can lead us to relax into our experience, accept it, and even embrace it. The First Commitment is to do no harm with our thoughts, words, or actions; the Second Commitment, or the Boddhisattva Vow, calls us to nurture our sense of compassion and dedicate our lives to easing the world’s suffering; and the Third Commitment, the Samaya Vow, teaches us to see everything as a manifestation of awakened energy and to embrace the world as it is, without labeling it “good” or “bad.”

With this new work, Chödrön reminds us that our daily lives hold enough material for a lifetime of spiritual practice. But we can’t do it alone. “We’re all in this together, all so interconnected that we can’t awaken without one another,” she writes. “The Three Commitments launch us on an exhilarating journey, a life-giving journey, a journey of appreciating one another and our unlimited potential for goodness.”

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