Is participant experience relevant?
It's okay if participants haven't seen the inside of a classroom in years.
Physical trust needed
Mental trust needed
10 minutes – 60 minutes
Experience level of the facilitator
routine as participant OR professional facilitator
Number of facilitators
CHARACTER OF THE METHOD
Level of activationcalming
Woo-Woo Level – How touchy-feely is this method?
From 1.Rationalist-Materialist “No feelings here, folks.” to 5.Esoteric-Shamanic Bleeding Heart:
Tonglen is a powerful meditation practice central to Tibetan Buddhism. In this practice, one visualizes taking into oneself the suffering of others on the in-breath, and on the out-breath sending happiness and wellness to all sentient beings.
ALTERNATIVE NAME OF THE METHOD
Sending and Receiving Meditation, Giving and Taking Meditation
BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE
Buddhist teacher, author, and nun Pema Chödrön gives tonglen instruction as follows:
Do this for an individual, or do this for large areas, and if you this with more than one subject in mind, that’s fine… breathing in as fully as you can, radiating out as widely as you can."
1 Connect with your breath
Come to a comfortable seated position where your spine is vertical and free (it's ok to be sitting on a chair, but sit forward so you're not leaning on the back of the chair). Bring your attention into your heart. Breath in and out of your heart a few times, feeling the anatomic heartbeat and allowing your heart to soften and open. Imagine, or sense, or intuit that you become very permeable, and almost invisible.
When you are ready to begin, breathe in whatever ailment comes to mind. Imagine that it comes in to you as dark, heavy tar. Then activate your imagination and create as many pyrotechnics and special effects as you like as your heart transforms this problematic stuff into its opposite -- breathe in fear, breathe out love. Breathe in sickness, breathe out health and wellbeing. Breathe in greed, breathe out generosity. Breathe in loneliness, breathe out connectedness. Trust in the power of your heart. The human heart is the great energy transformer. As you breathe in the problem is instantaneously and completely transformed into its opposite. There is nothing you need to do -- your heart knows how to do this itself. The transformation is bright and effortless.
After you have done this as long as you want to, let it all go. Breathe in and out of your heart a few times. Slowly come back into your body and allow yourself to become solid again. Bow to yourself and to your compatriots, internally wishing "May this practice be for the benefit of all beings."