A meditation practice for awakened compassion.
I first learned Tonglen from Pema Chödrön, a beloved Buddhist nun. Tonglen is a powerful practice used to send love and kindness into the universe. It's a practice of taking in the pain around us and sending relief back out to everyone. Pema described it best when she said, “In Tonglen, we visualize taking in the pain of others with every in-breath and sending out whatever will benefit them on the out-breath. In the process, we become liberated from age- old patterns of selfishness. We begin to feel love for both ourselves and others; we begin to take care of ourselves and others.”
Tonglen awakens our compassion and puts into perspective a much bigger reality beyond ourselves. It can be used for someone who is ill or any time there is suffering. Although an advanced practice, I invite you to join me.
Step 2: As you inhale, breath in all the pain and suffering you are experiencing. Take in all that hurts, the darkness, the heaviness, the injustice. I know this can be hard but try to stick with it; as with all practices, it will become easier.
Step 3: As you exhale, breathe out feelings of loving energy, kindness, compassion, and benevolence. Feel this through every pore of your body. Imagine sending your heart to everyone who needs it most.
As you practice this more and more, you increase your capacity for breath and compassion, Allow this natural expansion to occur over time (no worries if it feels like too much the first time, just come back and try again when you're ready!). As you deepen this practice, you'll also be deepening your ability to be more present and compassionate for other, even when it seems like impossible situations.