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Taking the Leap: Freeing Ourselves from Old Habits and Fears

Pema Chodron, Author, Sandy Boucher, Editor . Shambhala $19.95 (111p) ISBN 978-1-59030-634-5

This gently encouraging book by popular teacher Chödrön (When Things Fall Apart ; The Places That Scare You ) applies Buddhist wisdom to the problems of deeply ingrained reactions. An American Buddhist nun in the lineage of Tibetan master Chogyam Trungpa, she writes that “we already have what we need” to change and heal. Chödrön focuses on the preverbal moment—called shenpa in Tibetan—in which individuals are “hooked” into harmful stories, emotions and actions within the flux of their experiences. Clear descriptions of how this process works are accompanied by simple techniques to begin to break the cycle. Her suggestions can be easily practiced by anyone at any time without meditation training, although she presents the benefits of sitting meditation. With anecdotes from her teachers and examples from her own and others' lives, Chödrön demonstrates that people can stop their suffering and access their natural intelligence, warmth and openness. Throughout, she emphasizes the global implications of personal change. Among her strengths are compassion for the difficulty of human existence and her willingness to acknowledge her own failings. This short guide provides valuable tools for change in uncertain times. (Sept. 8)

Reviewed on: 07/13/2009
Release date: 09/01/2009
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