Watching the escalating situation in the Middle East prompts me to send the following to as many people as I can. While most of us aren’t in a position to individually change the flow of events there and around the world, we do have a tool available that might offer some respite, shift the energy, or generate unexpected healing. It’s a derivation of a Buddhist practice called Tonglen.
Tonglen is a process that invites us to breathe in the suffering of ourselves and the world, as we breathe out ease, comfort, peace. Through identifying with the negativity and distress around us – recognizing that it is part of the human experience and, as such, not separate from us, and that many people are experiencing exactly the suffering or negativity that is the focus of our meditation or experience right now – we diffuse some of the intensity of this suffering and chaos. In the Tonglen process, we breathe into our heart any suffering, distress of whatever kind, 360 degrees around, through every pore, and then breathe out – through every pore, again – ease, calm, comfort, peace, compassion – whatever transforms the suffering we have taken in.