I’ve been playing with something recently which is a personal take on the Buddhist practice of Tonglen. Tonglen is slightly different to the usual meditation or visualization techniques where we might look to increase our own well-being by focusing on moving towards better feeling places, and instead asks us to inhale the suffering of the world and send out all that is good in order that other’s may experience it.
Although at first, this way of going about things may be unappealing, what the practice does opens our field to the wider breadth of possibility, which is:
We are not the only ones who feel or have felt this way.
In the current world climate of what can feel like endless bad news and major shifts which can highlight feelings of yet more divisiveness it’s important to connect back to our shared experience and humanity.
If I feel apprehensive or unsure, I play with breathing in the feelings of those who also feel, or have ever felt apprehensive or unsure, and I send them calm and confidence in return.
If I feel overwhelmed or out of my depth, I breathe in for everyone who has felt overwhelmed or out of their depth and exhale clarity and surety.
If I’m struggling with a problem, I breathe in for everyone who has felt stumped, challenged or like they might never make it to the other side also.
Is it curative? No.
Does it remove the feeling? Not necessarily.
But that’s not the point.
What it does do is crack open your compassion and connect you to the invisible threads of connectivity that bind us all together. Here I am, in the midst of feeling this, you recognize, sharing the experience with those who have felt, are currently feeling or are yet to feel how I do now.
And in return, I send them love.