I can’t remember when or where I first became aware of Pema Chodron, but think I must have been directed to The Wisdom of No Escape, from some kind of article/post on the subject of self-care. I was initially skeptical as, although I’m obviously very into this self-development/self-inquiry malarky, I’m not at all religious and Pema is described as, amongst other things, an ordained buddhist nun, a disciple of Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche and the resident teacher at a Tibetan monastery in Nova Scotia.

So I guess I was expecting the book to be on the preachy side but it had good reviews so I gave it a whirl.

Instead what I discovered was a very accessible, simply written and engaging book which resonated with me because of how relevant it was to (my) modern life. Some books on these types of subjects have a tendency to be long, dense and somewhat self-gratifying to the author in the use of complex language. TWoNE is definitely not that.

Above all, and probably the defining feature of this book for me, is that I would describe it’s tone of voice as kind and nurturing – as opposed to others which can end up making you feel worse before helping you to feel better.

This book is about getting to know yourself and becoming curious and offers a simple introduction to how meditation can support you in doing this and, in particular, help with the observation of (as opposed to attachment to) our thoughts.

Here are some of my favourite excerpts to give you a taster:

  • Loving kindness towards ourselves doesn’t mean getting rid of anything. We can still be crazy after all these years. We can still be angry after all these years. We can still be timid or jealous or full of feelings of unworthiness. The point is not to try to change ourselves.
  • The idea isn’t to get rid of ego but actually to begin to take an interest in ourselves, to investigate and be inquisitive about ourselves.
  • Being satisfied with what we already have is a magical golden key to being alive in a full, unrestricted, and inspired way.
  • Our brilliance, our juiciness, our spiciness, is all mixed up with our craziness and our confusion, and therefore it doesn’t do any good to try to get rid of our so-called negative aspects, because in that process we also get rid of our basic wonderfulness.
  • Whatever you have, that’s it. There’s no better situation than the one you have. It’s made for you. It’ll show you everything you need to know about where your zipper’s stuck and where you can leap.
  • Sometimes you’ll read and read and you can’t find the answer anywhere. But then someone on a bus will tell you, or you’ll find it in the middle of a movie, or maybe even in a commercial on TV. If you really have these questions, you’ll find the answers everywhere. But if you don’t have a question, there’s certainly no answer.

I recommend this book for the following:

  • if you’re interested in accepting yourself and your situation just as it is
  • you’re curious
  • you’re in the mood for something nurturing and supportive
  • you’re up for learning some simple meditation techniques.

I’d give this book 8/10 – wonderfully simple and kind.

Happy reading.