We do not need to go out and find love; rather, we need to be still and let love discover us.
When I let myself be still, when I unplug from the onslaught of virtual connection and lean into the quiet of no planned events, no social engagements and turn off the phone, I feel grief rise. I sit alone and yet I feel the collective experience of grief. The flurry of the virtual activity, emails, texts, chats, Zooms, WhatsApp, even all that is intended to comfort such as reminders to be mindful, online performances and concerts, daily poetry readings and more, can keep us away from being still and feel the grief of all the suffering the pandemic is creating.
I can understand the desire not to feel grief.
The poet Hafiz is attributed with saying, "I felt in need of a great journey, so I sat still for three days." Two weeks into this journey of compassion through the vehicle of compassion-based practices has had elements of both a great expedition and the quiet of sitting still.
As I detailed in my initial blog, I chose Tonglen as the first practice of this year. In the past, I have had some difficulty with Tonglen in that I have actually found it hard to connect to feelings of suffering using the practice. I think it is because of the quickness of the practice. By quickness I mean taking in suffering on the in-breath and sending out relief on the out-breath. The turnaround of suffering to relief in the span of one cycle of complete breath did not afford me the time to connect to either the feeling of suffering or of relief. I have felt with Tonglen, that I am riding on the surface of feeling, not connecting with them.
I had a similar experience this time, so I explored ways to feel connection.
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