the natural suffering we encounter is the gateway to compassion. tonglen is a tibetan practice of giving and receiving that helps to awaken our innate capacity for compassion. in this meditation by tara brach, which she describes as a version of tonglen meditation, we are guided into a deep and open awareness of the places within us that are calling for our attention.
brach explains how the suffering that we experience in life is a gateway into compassion. where the felt experience is challenging, we can ease and facilitate our movement into a place of compassion by resting the hand on the heart or by focusing on the out breath, releasing whatever energies may be caught within us. as we practice giving compassion to the collective, and to particular individuals in our lives who we know are struggling, we awaken the compassionate heart within us.
and you probably know people who have chosen the more selfish path in life, who focus just on themselves and a few people close to them; people who aren’t rude or angry, but simply have a narrower focus of who’s important to them in life. but is it possible to strengthen the erratic altruism that we occasionally feel to something more reliable and consistent, a way of continuously seeing the world? tonglen meditation combines watching the breath with a visualization of alternating love and compassion. but the practice of tonglen, which can be done on the cushion or as you go about your day, is a systematic way to gradually build up the love and compassion in our minds until that altruistic love and compassion become natural, spontaneous feelings that arise whenever we encounter others. direct your gaze four or five feet in front of you on the floor.
see if you can extend this level of concern of a mother to the dear one in front of you. on the next in-breath the smoke comes closer to you and pools in front of your nose into a dense dark sphere again, containing all your friend’s pain and suffering. and the moment it touches the light and love and energy at your heart, there is a fantastic explosion of light rays that shoot out from your heart in all directions. imagine that, as you do any of these activities, you are able to practice silently, secretly, imagining and then taking on all these peoples’ suffering on your in-breath. now is a good time to remember never to push in your meditation, but to stay relaxed, to stay within the bounds of my ability without becoming overwhelmed; to first and foremost have love and compassion for myself, wishing myself happiness and freedom from suffering.
begin with mindfulness meditation, maintaining your focus on the breath. as you breathe in, be present with breathing in. as you breathe out, be tara brach leads a guided meditation: tonglen. the natural suffering we encounter is the gateway to compassion. let loving awareness takeover and let loose of tonglen meditation combines watching the breath with a visualization of alternating love and compassion. in our imagination we offer to others, tonglen meditation script pdf, tonglen meditation script pdf, tonglen guided meditation script, tonglen meditation for beginners, five minute tonglen meditation.
tonglen practice, also known as “taking and sending,” reverses our usual logic of avoiding suffering and seeking pleasure. in tonglen practice, meditation: awakening compassion with tonglen (11:35 min) our hearts awaken as we let ourselves be touched by the suffering within and around meditation – “compassion practice – tonglen” (28:49 min) our deepest wisdom and purest actions arise out of open-hearted presence. this, tonglen prayer, tonglen for self, is tonglen dangerous, tonglen vs metta.
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