Today we are going to do a live Extending Compassion Meditation —it is a meditation that is inspired by Tonglen, a Buddhist practise of “giving and taking or sending and receiving.” More specifically, this practice involves consciously breathing in the pain and suffering of yourself and others and on the exhale, sending space, compassion and healing to yourself and others.
This compassion meditation has the power to open our hearts and deepen our love and compassion for ourselves and the world around us. By embracing, rather than rejecting, the unwanted and painful aspects of human experience, we can overcome fear, and learn how to balance both pain and suffering while cultivating greater empathy for others.
This extending compassion practice may feel scary, after all the thought of taking on extra pain and suffering can be worrying for most.
That said, people have been practising compassion meditation or tonglen for more than a thousand years and there is growing evidence to show that it can lessen anxiety, create peace of mind, and foster an increased sense of connection to others.
The one problem you might face is that you feel too much emotion when facing other people’s suffering. If this happens, meditate on less serious issues and situations of pain.
Today’s practice can help reduce the stress of larger problems in the world like Covid-19, war and systemic racism. It is also a remedy that can snap us out of our own self-entitlement and self-centredness and remind us of our shared suffering, our shared humanity, and our shared capacity to change and overcome problems.
Find a comfortable position either laying down or sitting up. Get yourself comfortable with eye pillows, blankets, cushions, and bolsters. Set up your space with intention. You may like to light a candle or burn incense. Maybe hold in your hand your favourite crystal.
I will give you a few moments to set up your space and settle in.
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DO NOT DRIVE OR OPERATE MACHINERY WHILST LISTENING TO RELAXATION AND MEDITATION MUSIC, BINAURAL BEATS OR GUIDED SLEEP RELAXATIONS.
This work is not intended to substitute for professional medical or counselling advice. If you suffer from a physical or mental illness, please always seek professional help.