Welcoming the Unwelcome: Wholehearted Living in a Brokenhearted World

Shambhala. Oct. 2019. 160p. ISBN 9781611805659. $22.95. REL
Core tenets of Buddhist philosophy, such as impermanence or emptiness, can often be difficult for individuals to understand, and are often falsely interpreted as nothingness or that life is devoid of meaning or substance. Chödrön, Buddhist nun and prolific author (When Things Fall Apart; The Places That Scare You; Living Beautifully), unpacks this erroneous interpretation to explain that these core tenets can help an individual to recognize and fully experience the complex, fluid, and dynamic nature of reality. Chödrön begins with a discussion of polarization, a topic that is particularly salient in the contemporary social and political context. Many of us are tempted to shy away from difficult conversations or uncomfortable situations. Chödrön argues that allowing ourselves to feel vulnerable and rejecting an us-vs.-them dichotomy will ultimately spark compassion and help us to realize the goodness and humanity in ourselves and others. Chödrön communicates using relatable examples from her own life through chapters that clearly build on one another. She also weaves practical strategies throughout the text and provides meditation guidance in an appendix.
VERDICT Anyone seeking strategies for navigating and finding peace within an increasingly polarized world will likely find this text useful, as well as individuals seeking an accessible introduction to key principles of Buddhist thought.
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