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About the Book When Things Fall Apart by Pema Chodron

The book When Things Fall Apart by Pema Chodron speaks about how we can live our lives when everything seems to fall apart–when fear continually overcomes us, anxiety, and pain.

We, humans, tend not to want to stay where we are uncomfortable. Not physically and not emotionally. When we are scared, when we have the feeling that the ground is shaking under our feet, that’s when we want to escape. And we run away. In the material world, we buy things we don’t need; in sexuality, searching for something better because we don’t tolerate reality. In fact, life is also suffering. Life is all the emotions we don’t like – despair, disappointment, helplessness, insecurity. And the biggest mistake is that we always want to escape this. With friends, we just aren’t alone, into alcohol, into intoxication, anywhere so that we don’t have to feel those emotions that we feel uncomfortable. For example, I wanted to escape my own feelings when I broke up with my partner. I was with friends as much as possible, even though I was a more lonely man at heart. I consciously knew what I was doing and knew that I would have to get over the breakup with my ex-partner, whom I still loved, precisely by calming down, being alone with myself, and directly feeling all the emotions about it.

We Run Away From Fears

It is best to make friends with fear. We are afraid, have been, and will always be afraid of something. It is the courage to be here, faced, with this, even if I am afraid. It is a gifted opportunity for development, overcoming, and taking a step forward. And what do we all do? Because they advise us to lighten our fears, take a pill, get distracted, or work on getting rid of them as soon as possible. We alleviate our restlessness with short-term pleasures, which leads us to even more incredible restlessness in the long run. For example, we want, and simultaneously are afraid of, a love relationship in which we would surrender to the person we love. That’s why we boycott the relationship – because we don’t believe we are worthy of love. We boycott him with our behavior and actions by consciously making ‘mistakes,’ deliberately hurting a person we care about but don’t believe loves us. We sleep with others just to quench our inner turmoil and prove to ourselves that we are not worthy of true love. We run into notions of life, of the relationship, and how something should be, and we will finally be happy. It is a straining of oneself. All we have is the present moment, and the essence of life is to make the most of the cards we get. A lot of people do that. Doing so affects themselves, their partners, and everyone they love.

The Book When Things Fall Apart by Pema Chodron Tells Us What the Truth Is

The truth is that nothing is eternal, everything is fleeting, the ground under our feet is shaking all the time, and that is life. When our performances collapse, and these collapses, the secret is to stay, not run away. I stayed too, and I didn’t run away when my notion of the relationship I was in collapsed. I felt cheated and betrayed. I wanted to run away because I thought the man was different, or I only saw his good qualities; I didn’t like to point out the bad ones, even though I knew they were. I wanted to believe in him and in the fact that he could manage to defend himself against bad habits. It didn’t work. First, I ran, then I stopped and faced. It hurt, I felt darkness and hopelessness, and at the same time, I felt infinite freedom. I stayed with myself with that uncertainty, with my broken heart. I held on. I just caught myself.
Fear, anger, despair, and disappointment are not bad things; they are part of us and teach us what we cling to. They clearly show us where we are stuck. “Therefore, we can see the events and people who open up unresolved things in us as something good and by no means bad. The most precious opportunity arises when we think we can no longer bear what is happening. All addictions originate from the moment we reach our limit and simply do not tolerate it. We feel like we want to ease the burden, put it off, and become addicted to anything that seemingly relieves our pain. In fact, the rampant materialism we are witnessing today is coming from this moment.”

Pain, despair, and helplessness can be golden opportunities.


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