In Empathy, In Tonglen
Dear Spirit to Spirit friend,
In this newsletter two weeks ago, the focus of the writing was about the Spiritual Heart. The Boundless, Greater Heart that is an aspect of our True Nature...our deeper, Essential Nature.
The Spiritual Heart being the greater capacity that we have to feel and contain what we feel. The greater capacity in us that can experience an infinite amount of love and bear an incredible amount of pain without closing down. Its qualities are Unconditional Love, Empathy, Compassion, Greater Care.
A question might arise:
"If this (the Spiritual Heart) is an aspect of our True Nature, how can we bring It forward into our lives, into the world, as a gift, a blessing for all?"
In Tibetan Buddhism, there is a response to this question. It is in the practice of Tonglen.
Tonglen refers to a meditation practice in Tibetan Buddhism. Tong means "giving or sending" and len means "receiving or taking." It is the practice of taking in the (energy of) suffering of others and giving out healing and peace. It is a practice in empathy and in opening into compassion for all beings- breathing in suffering and breathing out healing. Through the practice of Tonglen, empathy, compassion, and loving kindness are developed and sent out into the world.
As we rest in the Spiritual Heart, the Heart that has room for all of the pain and suffering of the world, from here we can engage in the practice of Tonglen. We can breathe in anything and everything without overwhelm- all being embraced by the Unconditional Love of the Spiritual Heart. And we breathe out Compassion, Care, and Loving Kindness into the world.
A self-less practice that, by its very nature, brings great peace and deep joy to us in the practice and a feeling of true interconnectedness with all others and the world. In this simple act of taking in and giving out, suffering may be relieved and healing is given to the world.
In simply sitting. Slowly breathing in whatever is in your awareness that needs healing.
And, slowly, breathing out the most beautiful Love, Compassion, and Empathy of the Spiritual Heart.
Perhaps this is one step we can take in helping our world heal.
In Gratitude & Love, Joanna