756th Week: A Subtle Activism Request

This week, I have a request to make of those who read these practices and are willing to engage in a subtle activism activity on behalf of our collective human family.  I’d like to ask everyone to take five minutes each day—it doesn’t matter when—to do the practice of Tonglen.  The specific focus of the Tonglen practice in this subtle activism activity is on breathing in our collective fear and hatred and breathing out compassion, peace, love, ease, or whatever quality you would like to offer to our human family.  If this practice resonates with you, I would ask you to consider making it a daily practice on a regular basis, not just for this week.

I’ve written about Tonglen many times and there are links to the practice on my website under Written Meditations – https://www.nancynapier.com/category/meditations/.  For this week’s activity, I’d like to write a brief version of a Tonglen-like practice for this subtle activism activity.  Because many people may not have done Tonglen before, and may not be thrilled with the idea of breathing fear and hatred into their heart, I’ve written up a “derivation” of Tonglen drawn from my early spiritual upbringing.

The first thing to recognize when doing a practice like Tonglen is that the essence and energy of love that resides in the heart all the time is a fiery presence.  In the Tonglen practice, we breathe the negative feeling or energy into the heart, allowing the fire of the heart to neutralize it.  We do this on the in-breath.  Then, on the out-breath, we choose a quality with which we infuse the neutralized energy and then breathe it out first into our own body and then on out into the world, to become part of our human collective consciousness.

For those who aren’t comfortable breathing negative energy into your heart, you can begin by imagining yourself surrounded by a beautiful and cleansing white light.  Then, you can imagine that, as you breathe in our collective fear and hate, it becomes neutralized as it passes through the white light around you and then even more cleansed as it enters the fiery love in your heart.

So, briefly, here’s the practice:

  • Begin by surrounding yourself with white light, if that feels like something you want and need to do.
  • Bring your awareness to your heart space and notice the fiery light of love burning there.
  • Take a moment to connect to the fear and hate that are so powerfully evident in our human family at this time.  You may experience it as a color or some other symbol, or just as the feeling of fear and hate.
  • Breathe it into your heart, perhaps first through the white light surrounding you, and see or sense that the fire in your heart neutralizes, burns away, the qualities of fear and hate.
  • Choose the quality you want to send into your own body and then out into the world—compassion, ease, peacefulness, steadiness, etc.—and, as you exhale, sense or imagine the out-breath carrying that quality into you and into our human collective consciousness.
  • Do this for five minutes and, when you are through, release your awareness of collective fear and hate and take a moment to orient to something around you, or something in your memory, that elicits a feeling of love, affection, kindness, or some other positive emotional state you want to resonate with as you go forward with whatever is next on your agenda.

Since we are all in this together, no matter where we are on the planet, this is one way we can serve and support our brothers and sisters everywhere, and help to contribute to the healing of the fear that causes us to feel threatened by the “other”, robbing us of the recognition that we are all kin.

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  1. Thank you Nancy. I have been so grateful to you for teaching Tonglen breathing to me. I like the white light too.

    1. Thank you, Marie. I’ve been so grateful to have it in my life as a constant practice. And, I like the white light, too. It’s a beautiful companion along the way.

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