• When Pain is the Doorway

  • Awakening in the Most Difficult Circumstances
  • By: Pema Chödrön
  • Narrated by: Pema Chödrön
  • Length: 1 hr and 55 mins
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (604 ratings)

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When Pain is the Doorway  By  cover art

When Pain is the Doorway

By: Pema Chödrön
Narrated by: Pema Chödrön
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Publisher's Summary

Finding freedom in our most difficult circumstances.

What if the full sense of our aliveness were only to be found amidst our most challenging times and difficult experiences? In pain and crisis, teaches Pema Chödrön, there lies a hidden doorway to freedom that appears to us only when we're sure that there is no way out.

In these intimate audio learning sessions, Pema Chödrön helps us distinguish the triggers or external events that we blame for our suffering from the deeper habitual patterns that feed our anger, fear, or sadness. From this understanding, we learn how to free ourselves from our propensity to suffer through the transformative awareness of impermanence - the dynamic and ever-shifting nature of both joy and suffering, self and selflessness-and the absolute and eternal flow from which all of it arises.

What is causing my pain? What will happen if I simply lean in, keep company with it, hold it with tenderness? Moment by moment, Pema supports and encourages listeners to bring an openhearted sense of curiosity and welcoming to our apparently impossible situations or unbearable relationships - to discover the deeper freedom available just beneath the surface.

For those experiencing emotional crisis, When Pain Is the Doorway provides expert guidance to help us stop, stay present, and enter into a more welcoming, spacious place of being that is our true home.

©2013 Pema Chödrön (P)2013 Pema Chödrön

What listeners say about When Pain is the Doorway

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Crucial topic. sound is fine.

Where does When Pain is the Doorway rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

This topic is basically 'Charnal ground practice' which is interacting with/coming to terms with one's own interactions with and reaction to death. There is discussion on approaches to death and how that applies to our experience of life. It is clear that Pema is coming to terms with this subject, and this talk reflects that more than other talks which may be more concretized in regards to information. I still found it highly valuable and enjoyable.This topic is fairly short and a specific guided meditation is not included, however techniques for working with the topic are discussed, as well as experiences and approaches of people working with it. This is a lecture with some very good question and answers at the end. This is not a full retreat and so does not have the lengthy discussion with multiple meditation sessions during the lecture.I find Pema very approachable as a listener due to her humility and complete honesty. This allows me to listen to not only what she is teaching, but how she embodies walking her spiritual path.

What was one of the most memorable moments of When Pain is the Doorway?

It is in the sample recording I believe. Pema describes a hospice worker helping someone who is terrified to die, and what seems to work is telling the person to 'rest in the space' between breaths when this person is having severe difficulty breathing. She also describes her own and other's experiences working Charnal ground practice, and views of life working it -- as a way of working 'things are falling apart'.

What does Pema Chödrön bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

I don't think a book would include her honest revelations 'I get panic attacks' that in some ways are so profound - she just accepts it like everything else. Those to me keep all the work and talks 'real'. I don't think that would make print in a polished book, yet it sets the ground for life's problems to be acceptable for anyone. I also find integrating this information easier listening to it versus reading it.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

"Death is the paintbrush of Life"

Any additional comments?

It's a short topic (about 2 hrs). It doesn't give all the answers but does spend time there.

14 people found this helpful

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  • L.
  • 04-12-15

A Cognitive Shift

Great lectures, with practicality and helps you shift into a healthier cognitive paradigm. Highly recommended. Don't just listen once, repeat.

8 people found this helpful

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I felt gypped

I had expected that this would be a talk primarily on physical pain. Instead it was on harboring bad feelings against a person.
Very short talk and very long question and answer period. The questions brought up other topics, such as fear of death, but did not touch on physical pain or illness.

6 people found this helpful

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A different way to relate to life's obstacles

Pema patiently works with us till we can truly grasp how a keen awareness of impermanence of all phenomena can take us from the pain of the moment into the depths of our silent eternal being.

4 people found this helpful

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  • CB
  • 09-04-14

Pema not at her best here...

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

When someone asked her about depression, Pema suggested they try singing
and dancing. I found it very surprising as she is usually sensitive to people's
pain, not this time.

What do you think your next listen will be?

I have other books of hers that are useful, this one is not good. Her advice for the person whose friend is dying and is terrified was useless, too. Not at her best this day for sure.

Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Pema Chödrön?

Maybe Pema was very tired and needed a break, I know she must have to help
a lot of people in pain, and maybe she was burned out.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

I hope she had a chance to take a vacation.

4 people found this helpful

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Beautiful on pain

As always; very uplifting to listen to Pema Chödrön, even (or maybe especially) when pain is the subject.

4 people found this helpful

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I love this book ❤

Pema's voice is always soothing. Thank you ❣ Insightful, I'm able to apply it to the ups and down of my life❤

1 person found this helpful

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Listen to it all the.time

Clam my soul. Pema has a way to pacify my psychic ..many sleepless night, this book put me to sleep

1 person found this helpful

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Healing

There is so much peace wisdom and relief in her work. She is my living hero...
Thank you so much!

1 person found this helpful

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More practical insights from Pema.

Pema Chodron is a master at taking complex and challenging Buddhist teachings and showing us how to apply these principles in our daily lives and our practice. In this audio she discusses various common life challenges and how to use these for growth and awakening. I recommend this for anyone looking to deepen their practice.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 08-06-14

Interesting work let down by production quality.

Any additional comments?

The content is really interesting, however the recording of the second half is absolutely abysmal and I am surprised that Audible would charge for something of such poor quality.

6 people found this helpful

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  • M. Lord
  • 03-15-15

Good talk

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I enjoyed this talk. The subject on hardship as a door opening for growth is useful and inspiring.

Any additional comments?

The only drawback was some parts of the recording quality aren't the best only because of microphone being moved, so a few spots muffled.

2 people found this helpful

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  • SJRod
  • 12-10-17

excellent

I have all of Pema Chodrons audio talks and books and even more on pre-order. as always excellent quality recording live and again excellent explanations.

highly recommended

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  • jenny stanbury
  • 01-25-16

Perfect simplicity.

Pema Chodren always manages to capture the essence of Buddhist teachings in a way which is accessible and profound. Whether you are an experienced Dharma student or a beginner Pema Chodren's words are truly inspiring.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Reb
  • 02-24-20

Great

Pema sees pain as a mentor that shows up and draws your attention to the areas in your life that need work. If you ignore Pain - these experiences will repeat throughout your life in various expressions until something changes. The book is organized into two sessions - Session 1 is about getting to the root cause of your suffering (or painful situation) and distinguishing the cause from the triggers. Session 2 is about charnel ground practice - in session one you identified the real issue and learned to identify the cause and the triggers - in session two you learn to change that pattern and the overall experience as a result from that change.

I made my own Table of Contents - since Audible does not come with chapter titles or PDF:

SESSION 1
Chapter 1: Introduction
Chapter 2: Relationships with blame, ego and root of suffering
Chapter 3: Distinguish the cause vs the trigger(s)
Chapter 4: Why am I suffering right now?
Chapter 5: Questions - Don't worry about changing others: work on being the change
Chapter 6: Questions - Passions / Impermeability
Chapter 7: Questions - Psychological roots of propensity
Chapter 8: Questions - Depression and triggers

SESSION 2
Chapter 9: Introduction
Chapter 10: Awakening in the charnel ground
Chapter 11: What is the charnel ground
Chapter 12: Directly vs selflessly
Chapter 13: Selflessly (spontaneous, organic)
Chapter 14: PTSD and Charnel ground practice
Chapter 15: Questions - Charnel ground TODAY (?) *literal
Chapter 16: Questions - Meditation: Letting go vs Observe
Chapter 17: Questions - Death