Coming together and falling apart – Pema Chödrön

“We think that the point is to pass the test or overcome the problem, but the truth is that things don’t really get solved. They come together and they fall apart. Then they come together again and fall apart again. It’s just like that. The healing comes from letting there be room for all of this to happen: room for grief, for relief, for misery, for joy.”

Pema Chödrön: When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times

Reminds the writer of the Hindu goddess Akhilandeshvari – ‘Never not broken’ – who represents a process/cyclical conception of existence: falling apart, coming together in a new whole, falling apart, coming together in a new whole, falling apart, coming together in a new whole…. This is a long way from the linear/goal/destination driven conceptions embedded in our cultures. Here there is no destination, and falling apart is not an experience to be avoided or pushed away or ended as soon as possible. It is instead woven into the nature of reality and our experiencing, so the enhancing response is one of acceptance – ‘letting there be room for all of this to happen’. Acceptance in this sense (also in the therapeutic context) is not about liking what is happening, or being okay with – it is about accepting and engaging with the nature of reality, rather than pushing against it.

Palace Gate Counselling Service, Exeter

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