To sit with suffering may be against our natural impulse. When witnessing the pain of others, we often shift our eyes away. Because it reminds us of our own fear. Our own anger. Vulnerability. Confusion.
Tonglen, a traditional Buddhist practice helps us respond with compassion.
It is profound. You breathe in an emotion and pray for everyone who is feeling it.
Yes, taking IN pain. But on the out breath: Releasing, sending whatever may be of benefit.
I once heard that high in the Himalayas, there are Tibetan monks in this practice 24 hours a day, 360 days a year. It’s soothing to know people are in constant prayer, for the planet and all sentient beings, for you, for me.
Let’s join them for a moment. Follow along with this modified Tonglen practice as we offer support during this time of pandemic.
Tonglen Practice for Pandemic Relief
1) Find your sit spot. Ground your body to the sacred earth, and lift up through the spine, opening the top of the head to the sky. Relax any areas of tightness, especially in the face, mouth, and shoulders. Take a few cleansing breaths and allow the mind to rest in openness, stillness. Form a smile on your face and send that smile down through your body, visualizing it creating aliveness in every cell.
2) Begin by breathing into the heart, connecting to the Divine, the Tao, the Great Love that links us all. Feel all the attributes of Love; kindness, tenderness, empathy, and compassion. Feel them circulating throughout the heart. Your heart is like a tree. Trees transmute carbon monoxide into oxygen. Our hearts continually transform pain into Love. Imagine the rings of your heart opening and expanding outward. Feel Love enveloping you and the space around you.
Breathe it in, breathe it out.
3) Get in touch with what is causing you suffering or is in need of healing attention. Who in your life could use healing right now?
For example: If you or someone you know is experiencing fear, visualize taking in this fear as you inhale. And on the exhale, send compassion, relief and ease to yourself and to all sentient beings experiencing fear. Inhale the energy of fear into your heart and feel it transmuting on the exhale. Peace and positive energy radiates through every pore of your body.
Allow the exhale to be a little longer than the inhale.
4) On the in-breath, fully feel and say yes to the difficult feelings. For extra help you may bring your hands to your heart (or wherever this feeling lives in the body). The out-breath releases this suffering into the field of Love and wholeness.
If you know of someone who is sick, you can do this practice for them and for all humans suffering from the virus. Breathe in the collective pain. Breath out well-being and universal wholeness.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, breathe in overwhelm—yours and the overwhelm of all people. Breathe out peace, calmness, and serenity.
If you’ve lost work or are worried about money, you can do this practice for yourself and all people experiencing financial hardship. Breathe in their struggle and send out security, stability, and abundance.
If you feel helpless, breathe this feeling in—yours and all beings experiencing helplessness. Transmute it in the crucible of your heart.
Feel the presence of the collective. The reality of our suffering. The truth of love.
May you be healthy and happy.
May you be held in the arms of the Beloved and know peace.
May you be courageous and free of fear.
May you feel safe.
You are love and loved.
Interested In Support?
For guidance exploring sacred Taoist principals with a certified human potential and sex coach, reach out here for a free 20 minute consultation with me, Bella. <3