10 Apr 2012

When There is Nothing I Can Do

Sometimes you encounter a difficult situation (without being directly involved), and you feel completely helpless. There seems to be nothing you can do to help the involved persons. They seem locked up in their positions and the situation seems completely stuck.
But there is always one thing you can do. It's called tonglen, originally a Tibetan Buddhist practice, here in a simplified version. It may sound strange: you will breathe in the negativity of the situation, but that does not harm you. This is how it goes:
You stop and take a deep, conscious breath. Then you breathe in the pain, frustration or anxiousness you see and feel, like a black cloud. With your outbreath you send your positive energy and a sense of relief, like a bright, glowing cloud. Repeat a couple of times.
Practicing tonglen I have sometimes sensed a slight shift in the situation, and sometimes I even came up with a way to disarm it.

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