The Dalai Lama, who practices Tonglen daily, has said,"Whether this meditation really helps others or not, it gives me peace of mind. Then I can be more effective, and the benefit is immense."
In Season 3 of Heartful
, we come to the fiercely radical practice of Tonglen. I would highly recommend practicing the skills of Loving Kindness
we developed in Seasons 1
before embarking on this season.
Tonglen translates as giving and receiving, even though in practice that order is reversed. The meditation rides on the breath and allows us to move into the rhythm of the always occurring receiving and giving of our natural world. For example, the rivers receive the rain from the clouds and give the water back to the ocean; the fruit trees receive the light of the sun and give us blossoms and fruit. While originally kept a secret by the Buddhist monastic community, assuming to be too much for the common human heart to handle, sometime around the 11th century, the teachings were eventually shared giving us access to this powerful heart medicine.
Designed to reveal and take direct aim at the self-cherishing nature of the mind, which sits in the center of our heart, this practice both reveals our smallest selves and offers us some freedom from its grip through allowing the healing heart waters to flow.
When we can see our smallness with clear, kind eyes, find the humor, and continue on with courage and faith, we align ourselves with our most powerful aspects, taste the infinite mystery, and know our intimate connection with everything.
By allowing Tonglen to become a formal practice, the chances of the heart waters flowing spontaneously when we need them the most increases. You will begin to effortlessly discover your heart offering support in the direction of the greatest suffering without doubt or fear. Peace is the result.
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