PLEASE NOTE: This is a key takeaways and analysis of the book and NOT the original book.
Start Publishing Notes’ Summary, Analysis, and Review of Pema Chödrön’s When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times includes a summary of the book, review, analysis & key takeaways, and detailed “About the Author” section.
PREVIEW: After a year-long sabbatical in 1995, Pema Chödrön, an American Buddhist nun, realized that the way to overcome fear, pain, loss, and anxiety is to confront those negative emotions in order to transform one’s suffering and negative patterns in life in order to obtain a life of joy rather than one of hardship. In When Things Fall Apart Chödrön sees two overarching themes: a need for maitri (loving-kindness towards oneself) and how practicing maitri develops a more compassionate attitude towards our own and others’ struggles; and a dissolving of dualistic tensions (“us” and “them”) by inviting in what we usually avoid by (as her teacher said) “leaning into the sharp points.”
According to Chödrön, fear is a universal, negative emotion, and a natural reaction is to protect oneself by moving away from that fear, literally and metaphorically. Despite this reaction, it’s more important to see clearly. We should lean in to negative emotions and life’s discomforts and learn from being stuck in that time and place.