The Places That Scare You: A Guide to Fearlessness in Difficult Times Summary & Study Guide

Pema Chödrön
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The Places That Scare You: A Guide to Fearlessness in Difficult Times Summary & Study Guide Description

The Places That Scare You: A Guide to Fearlessness in Difficult Times Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

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In The Places That Scare You: A Guide to Fearlessness in Difficult Times, Pema Chodron provides her readers with a training guide to achieving a state of groundlessness in which all fear dissolves. The book consists of three parts: an introduction describing the prison of illusion and ego in which we are trapped, a training course on cultivating the four limitless qualities, and a concluding overview of the concept of groundlessness.

In the introduction, Chodron describes the prison of emotion that traps most people. The prison blinds us to the true nature of reality. Though it is an illusion, we end up clinging to it because it takes courage to confront the true nature of life. Bodhichitta, which Chodron describes as a soft spot of empathetic potential available to us at all times, filters through cracks in the prison, and will take us out of the prison if we are willing to stay with it.

Training in the four limitless qualities, loving-kindness, compassion, joy, and equanimity, allows us to remain outside the prison and abandon ego. By studying our reactions to situations, especially those that conjure up strong emotions, and by studying the near and far enemies of the four limitless qualities, we can begin to abide with our emotions, instead of acting them out or suppressing them. This training can take all our lives, but the more we engage the four limitless qualities, the less we find ourselves back in the prison of ego.

The ultimate goal, remaining outside of the prison, is called groundlessness, a state of existence free of preconception and prejudice. Groundlessness can be unsettling, because it involves casting ourselves adrift in the reality of the present, with no preconceptions to cling to. But training in groundlessness can lead us to a state of fearlessness, and there will be no place we will be scared to go.

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This section contains 315 words
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