Updated on July 18, 2018:
What specifically could we do for healing relationships (including with ourselves), radiating this healing out into the world. In my experience this practice can dispel disharmony between people (feels like kind of an untangling):
Tonglen Meditation (I originally learned about this in a workshop with Joan Borysenko, Ph.D. in Chicago in 1995.)
Tonglen is from Tibetan, meaning giving and taking (or sending and receiving). It can be a powerful tool to transform negative into positive, what is tangled into smooth. There are many forms of tonglen (see Google). This is my own version, which I taught, re-shaped a bit over the years with my practice, understanding, guidance, and study of healing. There is no one right way to do this. No particular belief is required, just entertain the possibility that this might be helpful and see what happens. Much is accomplished by the power of intention. The basics are: Breathe in, pause (transform), breathe out. Here are the long and short versions.
–To get ready: Find a quiet place and get into a comfortable and supported position. Uncross legs or ankles. If you are sitting, feel your feet fully on the floor if you can. Take three deep letting-go breaths (if possible, fill the belly with air and let out noisily). Close your eyes.
–Then envision a gold luminous light above and slightly in front of you, washing over your body, cleansing all the dark grime from every cell in your body and washing it out through the feet. You may feel lighter.
–Next focus on your heart, perhaps placing your hand on your chest, becoming aware of the warmth, energy, and power of the loving furnace of your beating heart.
–Picture yourself in your mind. Breathe in any dark grime that may be covering your own heart-light. Pause briefly as the darkness transforms into love by the power of your heart-furnace. Breathe that love back out to yourself. Repeat for perhaps a minute or two or until it feels done to you.
–Next envision someone close to you. Breathe in any darkness that may be covering their heart-light. Pause briefly as the darkness transforms into love by the power of your heart-furnace. Breathe that love back out to them. Repeat until it feels finished, maybe a minute or two, whatever seems right to you.
–Now envision someone you are at odds with. Breathe in any dark grime that may be covering their heart-light. Pause briefly as the darkness transforms into love by the power of your heart-furnace. Breathe that love back out to them. Repeat until it feels done, maybe a few minutes or whatever seems right to you.
–If someone else now comes to mind, continue this process. You might also envision an organization or troubled region, specific people or whatever seems appropriate to you. A group can also do this together (perhaps in the same place or just at the same time).
–And finally, very important to finish up with gratitude, perhaps thanking any guides you may work with (or none). Breathe normally for a bit, just feeling grateful.
You can use this whenever someone throws you off. Say you are shopping or driving or at work and something happens with someone that feels yucky. You notice, stop a minute, breathe deeply, focus on your heart energy, and right then breathe in the dark clouds covering the heart-light of that person, transform the darkness in your heart, and breathe it back out as love, for whatever amount of time feels right. (You do not absorb any negative energy.) End by feeling grateful and breathing normally. And continue on with your day.
There is no one right way to do this. No particular belief is required, just entertain the possibility that this might be helpful and see what happens. Much can be accomplished by the power of intention.
I have also done tonglen to support healing relationships (which I see as gold cords of light between people). I believe it works for any living thing, including organizations and countries. It feels good to do, calming, empowering, and harmonizing. Practical. Please remember you do not control the outcome. No one can say what will happen after the tonglen meditation. But my experience has always been positive (usually surprisingly so). Good for me and good for the person I was having trouble with. I love win-win situations!
I’d like to know: what is your experience with this?
Tomorrow, my song “Prayer of Lovingkindness.”