I live in abundance, and I have so much to share. Not only my material wealth, but my time, my happiness, and my love for life and everything that’s alive.
How do you share your love and care with strangers? One amazing way is called tonglen. Buddhist teacher Pema Chödrön describes it beautifully here, but if you don’t want to go into details, below is a short version.
Tonglen is Tibetan for ‘giving and taking’ (or sending and receiving). It is a meditation
practice, where “one visualizes taking onto oneself the suffering of others on the in-breath, and on the out-breath giving happiness and success to all sentient beings”.
I prefer the on spot practice. Imagine standing in line at the supermarket behind a
stressed out mother and her crying child. That’s a situation where you can practice
tonglen, both for the mother and the child. I strongly believe in the power of thoughts –
especially the positive ones!
So next time you come across somebody who’s very tense, irritated, angry, or upset: try it out. With your in-breath you imagine taking on that negativity, and with your out-breath you send out relief, peace, calm, and happiness to them. Without saying a word.
If the practice of tonglen would spread like ripples on water, our world would become an even better place!