'Start where you are' shows you how to live and be at peace with everything, no matter whether there is a good or bad situation, and no matter where you are in life.
Pema Chodron explains that you can start now; you can start where you are. You can work with what comes along, rather than fight against it.
The subtitle of this book is "How to accept yourself and others": only when we confront our own fears and we open to ourselves are we really able to be there and be open to others.
This book is based on Buddhist teachings, and it poses a gentle approach to dealing with life.
The core message of this book is that we can lighten up; "there's no big deal":
"With our minds we make a big deal out of ourselves, out of our pain, and out of our problems."
We can then look at ourselves and others compassionately, as there's no use in being harsh with ourselves.
'Start where you are' also includes a few meditation techniques, like the lojong practice and the shamatha-vipashyana meditation.
One of the techniques explained is tonglen, which is also mentioned in The Dalai Lama's book 'The art of happiness'. This practice consists on breathing in a painful situation, yours or someone else's, and breathing it out with peace.
This book gets its message across with slogans. These are short sentences, in the format of almost a command, to meditate on and apply. These are some of the slogans that we can find in 'Start where you are':
'Start where you are' offers a logical approach to dealing with negative situations. Pema Chodron suggests that we react in a different way than we would usually do; so the slogan "Don't be so predictable".
In this way, this book promotes patience and nonaggression.
Pema Chodron suggests that we can see our thoughts as empty and powerless in order to be free:
"Each time you're willing to see your thoughts as empty, let them go, and come back to your breath, you're sowing seeds of wakefulness, seeds of being able to see the nature of mind, and seeds of being able to rest in unconditional space."
Going beyond, one chapter of this book deals with how we feel when we know what techniques to use to achieve peace, and how and when to use them, yet we don't use them.
The author tackles the issue of our looking at ourselves as hopeless or without discipline.
All in all, 'Start where you are' is an interesting book that offers a different approach to life: rather than going for pure positive thinking, we're better off confronting the negative situations directly, with the knowledge that whatever is happening is not a big deal.
"When you notice you're making a really big deal, just notice that with a lot of gentleness, a lot of heart. No big deal."
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Important: the fact that I've partnered with Amazon doesn't affect the review above. This review is simply my views of the book, and I write it in order to help you make a more informed choice.