Tonglen is a truly beautiful way to let go of resentment and other negative feelings -- and transform a bad situation into an uplifting experience of mindfulness.
Typically Tonglen is used during sitting meditation. The meaning of the Tibetan word, is literally, "sending and taking." Though it is thought of as a Tibetan meditation practice, the technique actually originated in India in the eleventh century.
In Tonglen practice, when we see or feel suffering, we breathe in with the notion of completely feeling it, accepting it, and owning it. Then we breathe out, radiating healing, compassion, loving kindness, freshness -- anything that encourages relaxation and openness.
Tonglen is more than a meditation practice, it is an attitude, a truly a beautiful way of transmuting the pain (emotional and physical) of our lives into a sense of being connected to others.
I heard one of my favorite teachers, Pema Chodron, once give an example of "Tonglen-on -the-go" that really stuck with me. If you ever get stuck in really bad traffic, instead of trying to distract yourself, practice Tonglen. Fully experience the feelings you are feeling -- breathe it in and accept them. Then let it go as you breathe out with a sense of compassion for yourself.
Look around you and notice all the other people who are stuck in THEIR cars --sharing the same feelings.
Breathe out loving kindness and compassion for yourself -- and to all those people sharing that experience with you. Allow your compassion to connect you to them all. It is as if we are single cells in the body of humanity. Connected through shared feelings and experiences.
Think about all of humanity. The people that have come before you and the ones who will come after you. They too have (or will) share the same feeling. As you breathe out send them all your blessings
I know how difficult it can be to forgive someone who harmed you-- or let go of resentment that you have nursed for a while. In working with many people who have asked me to help "let go of my pain," I find that combining this ancient practice with a few questions from the Sedona Method, can really help people forgive and forget.
Begin with an association of openness.
(Look at or visualize the sky, ocean, etc. or remember a time when you were really open).
When using this method with clients, I add the questions from The Sedona Method as they are very powerful
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