A grin comes to my face as I remember her voice on the telephone.
"That's backwards isn't it? You meant breathe in the good and send out the bad, right?" she said, not unkindly. Being gracious, she was making a space for me to realize that my aging brain cells had gone dyslexic.
I had been chatting with an old friend for first time in quite awhile, talking about my continued wonder at the Lojong Teachings of Tibetan Buddhism in general, and Tonglen Practice in particular.
After a moment's pause, to relax and reconnect with the basic openness of mind -- and to make sure that I really hadn't verbally zigged when I had intended to zag -- I continued.
"No, I actually did mean that I get in touch with my aspiration that we all be released from suffering and the roots of suffering. Then I breathe into my heart the difficult and challenging darker emotions that had emerged at the moment. Then I breathe out a sense of relief and healing energy.
She paused for awhile (perhaps, to relax and reconnect with a basic openness of mind herself? LOL) Then she simply replied, "Oh?"
She didn't sound convinced.
Hers was not an uncommon response. Raised in a highly individualistic and materialistic society, the basic premise of this ancient Tibetan Buddhist system of mind training seems counterintuitive. Making the decision to open our hearts to the entire gamut of human emotions, rather than always grasping at the "good" and pushing away the "bad? Seems a bit crazy, right? It most certainly is.
Crazy like a fox.
The Lojong Teachings of Tibetan Buddhism, which consist of 59 training aphorisms are supported by two meditation practices: basic sitting meditation (Shamatha-Vippasyana) and Tonglen. Each of these practices has a role in cultivating our Connection to the essentially miraculous nature of life. Each contributes to our deepening ability to be Present moment by moment -- with clarity and compassion -- to the Sacred Perfection in which we are immersed.
As I sit here and pay attention, I become aware of a clear, bright, vast, and open sense of spaciousness beyond the tunnel vision of my thoughts.
As I pause and expand my attention to become
aware of my body, my breath, and the sights and sounds of the room that I
am sitting in and of the world outside the window, there a palpable shift in my consciousness. As
I come into the present moment more fully, I can feel its expansiveness in my heart. I can relax and rest in
Sitting here, breathing in, breathing out, I'm aware of the dance of my fingers along the surface of this keyboard. I see that milliseconds before the fingers move, thoughts emerge instantaneously, seemingly from nowhere in particular. Although, these thoughts are most certainly prompted by my intention to write this blog post, they appear to be emerging by themselves, quite mysteriously.
Although Western science claims that these thoughts are merely epiphenoma, just brain secretions of some sort, at this moment they appear to be connected to something much grander than that. My heart feels that connection. I have come to trust that feeling. A boundless sense of wonder and joy emerges from the luminous silence that embraces me as I embrace it. Aware of my feet on the floor, the clicking contact of my fingers on the keyboard, the soft humming of the computer, the wind outside the window, the vast, open spaciousness of a clear and boundless open mind, my heart opens. I feel the Presence of the Sacred.
But, I digress -- sort of.