Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Tonglen Meditation: Buddha Nature v. Green Monster

This post is hard for me.

It's hard because I'm owning up to something that I had hoped would just go away or work itself out with time but the truth is, I am long overdue for a reality check with myself.

I have a tendency to deny others their happiness.


Now--this does not come across as an outright affront, oh I'm far too 'polite' for that sort of thing. It's more subtle (read: passive aggressive). Often it is merely the energy I embody or thoughts raging through my head..."why not me...where's mine...why can't I get that break...I want that too...I want attention on me...me, me, me!"

If I really look, honestly, back over the course of my life, I have done this A LOT and this realization bothers me...really, really, really bothers me.

I have far too much love in my heart for my family, my friends and those I share this planet with to deny them their happiness, to allow the destructive nature of my little green monster to surface.

I want to hear another's joy and express happiness for them from a well of genuine happiness. I want to do so with no attachment, no after thoughts of, "wish it were me...". Just happiness for them and peace within.

Right now, I'm reading "Awakening the Buddha Within: Tibetan Wisdom for the Western World" by Lama Surya Das in hopes that I can realize my own Buddha nature. I find glimpses of it from time to time but I'm working to cultivate it as a more permanent state of being.

Last night I read about the tonglen meditation. The tonglen meditation is a sending-and-taking meditation; a lesson in letting go of self-clinging and attachment, the states of mind that birth our little green monsters, and cultivating inner peace and compassion.

I am working with this meditation to disentangle myself from myself. The premise is this:

  • Begin with self-acceptance

You have to accept yourself before you can accept others.

You must have compassion for yourself before you can have compassion for others.

Forgive yourself for the things about which you feel guilty, inadequate or responsible.

  • Extend this love and acceptance to others

Open up the circle of beings for whom you feel love and compassion.

Begin with family, children and friends.

Gradually expand until you are able to encompass enemies as well as friends and family and, finally, into the whole world, embracing all sentient beings into the tenderness of your love.

The tonglen meditation is performed with the hope of healing one's attitude and restoring it to wholeness. Ride the movement of the breath...just notice. The inhale...the exhale.

Just notice.

Then imagine that you inhale your conflicting emotions, negative karma, difficulties. As you exhale, imagine you release all of that negativity as happiness, balance and joy...repeat.

Inhale the darkness, exhale the light. Inhale the illusion, exhale your reality.

Transformation occurs between the breath.

As we think, so we become...

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