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Coping with Chronic Illness with Pema Chödrön

Pema Chödrön, (born Deirdre Blomfield-Brown July 14, 1936) is an American Tibetan Buddhist. She is an ordained nun, acharya and disciple of Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche. Chödrön has written several dozen books and audiobooks, and is principal teacher at Gampo Abbey in Nova Scotia, Canada.

Pema has led extensive discussions on working with chronic illness, specifically ME/CFS.  A generous and anonymous donor to our organization has secured permission to share this video clip with our community:

 

This video is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment or the medical recommendations of physicians, mental health professionals, or other healthcare providers. Rather, it is intended to offer information to help the viewer cooperate with physicians, mental health professionals, and health providers in a mutual request for optimum well-being. We advise viewers to carefully review and understand the ideas presented and seek the advice of your mental health professional or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding your condition.

Excerpt from “The Freedom To Love” (c) 2015 Pema Chödrön, used with permission from the publisher, Sounds True. 

The key to working with what is so deeply unwanted, is to let go of the ideas, (the thoughts), about how we shouldn’t be sick and what will happen to us if we remain sick. Somehow we have to respect the illness, welcome it, enter into it…we surrender and say, okay, what have you to teach me?…about letting go of control, about slowing down…about tasting the full experience of a moment…the light, the sound, the quality of our mood, of our pain, the sight of dust or birds or nothing special…respecting all that.

It’s a kind of death, this illness, the best kind of death if we’ll let it be. It’s the death of old stuck patterns and opinions and habits and it makes way for something new to be born in us.  Really, you can trust that. Something new will be born if you’ll let the illness show you where to let go your grip…And please don’t scold yourself for failing, ever.

The first noble truth of the Buddha is that when we feel suffering, it doesn’t mean that something is wrong. What a relief. Finally someone told the truth. Suffering is part of life, and we don’t have to feel it’s happening because we personally made the wrong move.

~ Pema Chodron

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