At times we may feel small, insignificant, and unable to help when people are suffering, or there’s a catastrophe in another part of the world. But there is something we can do.
Tonglen—Tibetan for giving and receiving—is an active practice of loving-kindness; a simple act of compassion that anyone can do. Here’s how it’s done:
Sit or lie quietly in your own “inner sanctuary” and imagine someone that you want to help.
Inhale the heaviness of their energy. Breathe in the condition, emotion, or suffering of another to make space for healing and comfort within.
Exhale whatever you feel will fill them relief. Breathe out hope, strength, joy, peace of mind, love, or ease.
I took this photograph at the Boise Botanical Garden. In my mind’s eye, this is how I imagine my inner sanctuary.
Tonglen is a soothing and calming meditation that can be done by people of any spiritual tradition, or none at all. It’s a simple, non-denominational practice that acknowledges we’re all connected no matter who we are, or where we come from.
“There is a place in you where you have never been wounded, where there’s a seamlessness in you, and where there is a confidence and tranquility in you, and I think the intention of prayer and spirituality and love is now and again to visit that inner kind of sanctuary.” —John O’Donohue
Ranked a great virtue in numerous philosophies, compassion is considered in all the major spiritual traditions as among the greatest of virtues. I recently came across this quote from Matthew Fox, an American Episcopalian priest and theologian. It said, “Compassion is not sentiment, but is making justice and doing works of mercy. Compassion is not a moral commandment but a flow and overflow of the fullest human and divine energies.”
The virtues of the heart help us make more conscious and ethical decisions; they are what fuels great souls. It is my personal belief that love is a person’s divinity in action.
Compassion is vital to the healing process; the common denominator of all restoration. When we hold heart-based intent (Light, Divine Love) for another person, it yields a dividend; the promotion of health and wellbeing for both the sender and the receiver. It activates HeartLight – illumination of the sacred space within.
It is my perspective that healing cannot take place without love. Like a blade of light that pierces the darkness, HeartLight in our sacred space, inner sanctuary, can remove dis-ease and restore wholeness—body, mind and spirit.
Have you ever been part of the healing process for yourself?
Have you ever been part of the healing process for someone else?