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Time And Relative Dimension In Space
fuckyeahwisdomandcreativity asked: Hey, so I was reading about Tonglen and you're supposed to breathe in suffering of others. As compassionate and helpful as it sounds, according to the law of attraction, if we imagine ourselves breathing this in, wouldn't it be a possibility of actually manifesting some of this suffering in our own lives? What do you think? I would rather just wish them health and happiness... Namaste!
Tonglen is not for the faint of heart, and yet it is through the practice of tonglen that we discover our hearts are not faint.
Compassion is not merely kind words and charitable gestures. Compassion is a roaring bonfire that is both fearless and all-inclusive. We do not need to inhale peace and exhale our suffering because our very essence is that fiery pyre of compassion.
Therefore, how do you grow a fire? By feeding it.
When you inhale the suffering of others, you aren’t doing it to make yourself suffer with them. You’re doing it to feed the bonfire of your compassion. Opening your heart to and staying with the suffering of others seems scary and feels unnatural. But the more you do it while staying in touch with your own innate compassion, the more you discover how strong your heart truly is while also genuinely relating to others who are in pain.
Forget the law of attraction. If it were a ‘law’, then bad things wouldn’t happen to good people and vice versa. The so-called law of attraction is pretty much a watered down new-age way of describing the effect that attention has on reality.
During tonglen, your attention is on compassion. When love meets suffering, compassion is born. So long as you shun and fear what you judge as negative, you will be its slave. But when you can open yourself to it with naked love and bare kindness, nothing can make your heart shut down.
We shut down in our own lives when we feel ashamed, depressed, jealous, fearful, anxious, or heartbroken. Doing tonglen for yourself is a good beginning. The good news is that eventually you run out of fuel. Your compassion overtakes all of your other transient emotions. Then what? You use the suffering of others.
It is in this way that Tibetan Buddhist monks render some of the best community service to this planet. If suffering were global warming, they’d be greenhouse gas scrubbers.
Doing tonglen for others doesn’t magically take their suffering away. But it does create an environment in which they are invited to emerge from it in the most sane and healthy manner possible. We cannot walk the path for others but we can certainly make it more accessible for them to do so.
A book I would strongly recommend is The Places That Scare You by Pema Chodron.
Book to read…
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