Start Where You Are Summary – July 2022

Author: Pema Chödrön

Short Summary
Start Where You Are (1994) is an invitation to explore your inner self. By exploring your true self you will earn the tools that will lead you to eternal bliss and compassion.
start where you are

Detailed Summary

Start Where You Are is a Self-growth book that teaches you how to improve your mental health while becoming more introspective. As you start living in the moment, you start paying attention to yourself in the present. Who you are now. Not who you could be or who you will be. By using this approach you can attain more clarity about where you stand. Not only meditation will help you in becoming mindful it will also allow you to explore yourself.

 In addition to meditation, try appreciating the little things in life. A cup of coffee, a light breeze, or your first time trying a new skill. You are not a human with labels. Let go of the ‘this is who I am’ story. It does not matter where you were born or what has happened it matters where you are today and what you are going to do about it in the present moment.

Start Where You Are Key Points

Meditation and Mindfulness

One of the hardest things to do in these times is to live in the present. No really. If you are someone whose work solely relies on being in the present you would have noticed it more than others. As a writer, It often becomes hard for me to be fully present so that I can pay attention to my thoughts. All of us either live in the fear of future or make our identities an agony of the past. So how do we make ourselves fully present? How to stay mindful instead of keeping your mind ‘full’?

 Many people swear by the wonders of meditation. Sure, it has several medical benefits like keeping our blood levels regulated and our anxieties under check but there are several other benefits as well. According to the author, meditation allows you to see the goodness that is present within us but we are usually too busy to see that. As we meditate, our goal is to not battle our past or present. It is to become more active, present, inquisitive, and curious about ourselves. Hence, meditation does not only lead to peace it leads to a new level of self-inquiry which allows you to explore your personality.

Meditation makes you more conscious and closely aligned

According to Ram Dass, meditation raises the question of Who are we really? You may have had a similar experience in the past. A period in which you are not thinking about anything. A time when you are not thinking things like, “Oh, I have to run for groceries after work or where did I put my blue sweater? Meditation serves this purpose. To assist you in living above and outside these thoughts.

We as humans have a tendency to get lost in our thoughts so we think and overthink. We encircle ourselves in a small world. Meditation, on the other hand, teaches you how to relax, to be aware of where you are and what you are doing It teaches you to be aware rather than keeping your mind occupied. This awareness will lead you to question things that really matter. Things like your own self and the things that are currently going on reduce the stress of the future and the agony of the past. This sort of emptiness is a good thing. Nirvana is the highest spiritual goal you can set and one of its translations is emptiness. This emptiness teaches you to let go of the constraints and labels. To let go of negative emotions like anger.

Seek Joy in the Smaller Things of Your Life

“Rejoice in small things and they will continue to grow.” – Slaven Vuji

Many times we are unhappy because we want something bigger to happen for us. Like getting a big promotion, owning a bigger car, or finding a bigger house. We associate our happiness with the accumulation of huge things that are sometimes unattainable or might take time for us to happen. So what are we going to do until we achieve our bigger goals? Stay unhappy and miserable? That can be one sad way of leading our lives.

Have you ever thought that you can be happy by witnessing the sun rising? Or by looking at your favorite person? Or by treating yourself with your comfort food? Happiness can be found in the little things, even in the toughest phases of your life. You just need to change your perspective a little bit.

Start Where You Are Quotes

“If someone comes along and shoots an arrow into your heart, it’s fruitless to stand there and yell at the person. It would be much better to turn your attention to the fact that there’s an arrow in your heart.” –Pema Chödrön

“If we are willing to stand fully in our own shoes and never give up on ourselves, then we will be able to put ourselves in the shoes of others and never give up on them.” –Pema Chödrön

Start Where You Are Review

Start Where You Are is infused with advice from the spiritual world. Written in simple language it is a deal for those who are looking for some sort of spiritual practice that can give more meaning to their lives. It also shows how you can take care of yourself so that you can take care of others. A simple and light read!

To Whom I Would Recommend Start Where You Are

  • To the woman on her self-love journey who is learning to take care of her body and her mental health.
  • The stressed-out manager who wants to adopt a technique to increase mindfulness.
  • And to anyone who wants to try to become more present and self-introspective.