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Feeling Emotional Pleasure and Pain Means Being Alive: Pema Chodron

It’s not such a secret that we are a culture driven by a need for “more” in order to feel alive or happy. We are also a culture driven to try and eradicate discomfort. These underlying motivations are partly driven by media messages from businesses trying to make a buck and spending billions of dollars are marketing to drive this into our minds.

In light of this, I want to bring to you a quote from a woman who has a lot of wisdom to share, Pema Chodron:

It’s also helpful to realize that this very body that we have, that’s sitting right here right now… with its aches and it pleasures… is exactly what we need to be fully human, fully awake, fully alive.

Okay, maybe it’s also important to have food, clothing, and a roof over our heads for many of us to be fully human, fully awake, and fully alive, but let’s not let that small point take us away from the brilliance of this quote.

One of the truths of life is that within us lies a feeling of dis-ease. We can’t be content with where we are in any particular moment because our minds are either trying to flee away from some discomfort or toward some comfort.

Pema Chodron is simply trying to remind us that aches and pleasures are part of the human experience. There may not be a catastrophe when a pain is there, it may just be part of being “fully alive.” There may not be a need to get the wheels anxiety or distress to be set in motion. Of course, if you are under extreme distress or have an inkling that something is off physically, it’s important to get it checked out by a medical professional.

However, next time you’re feeling physical or emotional pain, know that this is temporary and say to yourself, “maybe this is exactly what I need to be fully human, fully awake, fully alive.” See if you can bring your attention to it with a sense of compassion and caring. Next time you are feeling pleasure, also know that this is temporary and part of being fully alive and see if you can remind yourself to be grateful for these times.

As always, please share your thoughts, stories, and questions below. Your interactions here provide a living wisdom for us all to benefit from.

Feeling Emotional Pleasure and Pain Means Being Alive: Pema Chodron

Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D.

Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D. is creator of the six month online program A Course in Mindful Living, author of the book Uncovering Happiness: Overcoming Depression with Mindfulness and Self-Compassion, The Now Effect, co-author of A Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook, Foreword by Jon Kabat-Zinn, author of Mindfulness Meditations for the Anxious Traveler: Quick Exercises to Calm Your Mind, the premier eCourse Basics of Mindfulness Meditation: A 28 Day Program, the Mindful Solutions audio series, and the Mindfulness at Work™ program currently being adopted in multiple multinational corporations. Join The Now Effect Community for free Daily Now Moments and a Weekly Newsletter. Dr. Goldstein is a clinical psychologist in private practice in West Los Angeles.

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APA Reference
Goldstein, E. (2012). Feeling Emotional Pleasure and Pain Means Being Alive: Pema Chodron. Psych Central. Retrieved on February 19, 2020, from


Last updated: 5 Jul 2012
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