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Lions Roar : March 2017
to you. Traditionally you begin by doing tonglen for someone you care about and wish to help. However, if you are stuck, you can do the practice for the pain you are feeling yourself, and simultaneously for all those who feel the same kind of suffering. For instance, if you are feeling inadequate, breathe that in for yourself and all the others in the same boat and send out confidence, adequacy, and relief in any form you wish. 4. Expand Your Compassion Finally, make the taking in and sending out bigger. If you are doing tonglen for someone you love, extend it out to all those who are in the same situation. If you are doing tonglen for someone you see on television or on the street, do it for all the others in the same boat. Make it bigger than just that one person. You can do tonglen for people you consider to be your enemies—those who hurt you or hurt others. Do tonglen for them, think- ing of them as having the same confusion and stuckness as your friend or yourself. Breathe in their pain and send them relief. Tonglen can extend infinitely. As you do the practice, your compassion natu- rally expands over time, and so does your realization that things are not as solid as you thought, which is a glimpse of emp- tiness. As you do this practice, gradually at your own pace, you will be surprised to find yourself more and more able to be there for others, even in what used to seem like impossible situations. ♦ When you do tonglen as a formal meditation practice, it has four stages: 1. Flash on Bodhichitta Rest your mind for a second or two in a state of openness or stillness. This stage is traditionally called flashing on absolute bodhichitta, awakened heart–mind, or opening to basic spaciousness and clarity. 2. Begin the Visualization Work with texture. Breathe in feelings of heat, darkness, and heaviness—a sense of claustrophobia—and breathe out feel- ings of coolness, brightness, and light—a sense of freshness. Breathe in completely, taking in negative energy through all the pores of your body. When you breathe out, radiate positive energy completely, through all the pores of your body. Do this until your visualization is synchro- nized with your in- and out-breaths. 3. Focus on a Personal Situation Focus on any painful situation that’s real Spring Retreats in Santa Fe, New Mexico SEE ENTIRE CALENDAR, TEACHINGS, AND MORE AT WWW.UPAYA.ORG SANTA FE, NM 505-986-8518 ext. 112