*this meditation is rated as a Level 2 as it is not one for True Beginners. This is not a basic meditation practice and I would suggest being prepared for taking on challenging thoughts, feelings and experiences of oneself and others whom you might bring into this practice. However the benefit is a reward of being of service. There is a known and felt reward of ones own peace and healing through being of service.
Compassion begins with the capacity to hold our own life wrapped in the arm of our loving heart. Our ability to self care is supported through the attention of our hurt and pain, the kinder words we speak to ourselves on a daily basis and how we physically get our needs met. When we care for ourselves in a tender way, compassion will naturally awaken within us, it is intrinsic to our nature. We open to unconditional willingness and reconnect to something within where we feel safe, loved, with belonging and connected to a loving presence. At the same time, when we can face our own shadow side with tenderness, our empathy for other’s struggles becomes more potent and we can truly sense the humanity that connects us. By bravely facing the shadow side of humanity, we become the transformers of suffering that lives in ourselves and others.
This practice reduces attachments. It increases our ability to let go of the Karmic ties that bind us to old unhelpful stories that keep us stuck. By giving and helping one another, even through a generous thought and feeling, we develop and expand our capacity for kindness. This simple action creates a pathway to being held by the wholeness of being. We will combine this with a mudra Buddha Smiling. Tongue, Breath and Mind more loving and kind that your normal actions.
As you read this, notice something about your life you are finding hard today, where there is hurt and pain or a dis-ease. Body scan. Now bring to your practice someone in your life who is struggling, who is very affected by life’s circumstances and is of need of love, generosity and care. We will connect to ourselves first and then bring to mind and heart someone else. In Yoga Sutra 1:39 it states to focus on anything that is useful and pleasing. This is to focus on being productive with our pain, a positive influence and benefiting on the known reward of being of service. This is where we focus on welcoming by inhaling someone’s pain and suffering, making time to being available to hold space for someone else, directing your energy as you exhale and offering them tenderness, kindness and compassion. Tonglen is known for pulling us out of the cycle of separateness of ‘us’ and ‘other’, the ego-centric focus and depression, utilising the power of offering peace, joy and love to awaken to that which connects us.