Tonglen practice, also known as ‘taking and sending,’ reverses our usual logic of avoiding suffering and seeking pleasure. In tonglen practice, we visualize taking in the pain of others with every in-breath and sending out whatever will benefit them on the out-breath. In the process, we become liberated from age-old patterns of selfishness. We begin to feel love for both ourselves and others; we begin to take care of ourselves and others. Tonglen awakens our compassion and introduces us to a far bigger view of reality. It introduces us to the unlimited spaciousness of shuntaya- emptiness. By doing the practice, we begin to connect with the open dimension of our being. ~Pema Chodron
you may remember the darkest times as a time of significant change…..how do you hold that in your world view?
inquiry for today~ there is a moment when we let go, and get very, very real…..we then feel and heal our deepest sadnesses…….
Early one evening in July I walked to the park. It had been a couple of weeks since my last visit, as I’d been out of town with my family- a summer trip to the ocean. Near my usual entrance, the municipal workers had laid fresh timber for a bridge through the much, When I crossed into Section AC-U3, I saw that the crews had finally crossed the small marsh. In the far woods, they’d cleared the invasives. Here and there, back in the duff, lay heaps of chopped brush. While the ash looked the same as ever, the forked bough no longer held the coelacanth. His disappearance, so unexpected, took me aback. As I stood there looking at his old perch, my loneliness surprised me. I wandered over to one of the brush heaps and poked around. At a second pile I poked some more. I felt like a grubber, selecting logs and tossing them aside. At last I stopped. For a few minutes, I stood gazing at the second pile. By degrees, I felt myself overtaken by that serene breathing which so often settles on us when we stare into something inconclusive and beautiful- like a small radiance of midges seeking one another in evening light. Above me, among the canopies, a jet was speeding along at altitude. Its contrail was vivid, a puffery as straight and purposeful as a professor’s chalk line. Back a ways, in the air, the line was already coming apart: curls and points, a foreign calligraphy. ~Patrick Dougherty