Juicy emotional spots can be crucial to our awakening. When in the midst of confusion, when we feel betrayed, irritated or disappointed, we can meditate on the things that provoke resentment. But we forget that these moments can be a practice as well.
Tonglen - exchanging oneself for others - is a Bodhichitta practice for activating loving-kindness and compassion. In Tibetan, the word 'Tonglen' literally means ‘sending and taking.’ It refers to being willing to take in the pain and suffering of ourselves and others and to send out happiness to all. Although there are many ways that we can approach Tonglen, the essence of the practice is always the same. We breathe in what is painful and unwanted with the sincere wish that we and others could be free of suffering. As we do so, we drop the storyline that goes along with the pain and feel the underlying energy. We completely open our hearts and minds to whatever arises. Exhaling, we send out relief from the pain with the intention that we and others be happy. When we are willing to stay for even a moment with uncomfortable energy, we gradually learn not to fear it.