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Most of us do not take these situations as teachings. We automatically hate them. We run like crazy. We use all kinds of ways to escape — all addictions stem from this moment when we meet our edge and we just can’t stand it. We feel we have to soften it, pad it with something, and we become addicted to whatever it is that seems to ease the pain.

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Pema Chödrön is an ordained American Tibetan Buddhist nun. In addition to her work establishing the Tibetan Buddhist monastic tradition in the West, she is an author and teacher, working with spiritual seekers of all traditions. Her book When Things Fall Apart is a classic work on handling uncertainty.

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FindCenter Quotes ImageStay a verb—don’t become a noun.

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FindCenter Quotes ImageLife’s work is to wake up, to let the things that enter into the circle wake you up rather than put you to sleep. The only way to do this is to open, be curious, and develop some sense of sympathy for everything that comes along, to get to know its nature and let it teach you what it will.

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FindCenter Quotes ImageAvoidance will make you feel less vulnerable in the short run, but it will never make you less afraid.

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FindCenter Quotes ImageHow strange that the nature of life is change, yet the nature of human beings is to resist change.

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FindCenter Quotes ImageWe meet no ordinary people in our lives.

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FindCenter Quotes ImageMental pain is less dramatic than physical pain, but it is more common and also more hard to bear. The frequent attempt to conceal mental pain increases the burden: it is easier to say ‘My tooth is aching’ than to say ‘My heart is broken.’

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Addiction