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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