Tonglen takes a unique approach, focusing on embracing and transforming suffering. It involves inhaling the pain and suffering not only of oneself but also of others and exhaling happiness for all. As Pema Chodron beautifully puts it in her book The Places That Scare You, "we breathe in what is painful and unwanted with the sincere wish that we and others could be free of suffering. As we do so, we drop the story line that goes along with the pain and feel the underlying energy. We completely open our hearts and minds to whatever arises. Exhaling, we send out relief from the pain with the intention that we and others be happy."
In our troubled world, compassion is the catalyst for change that we desperately need. Now is the time to start, and it begins with self-awareness. Get to know yourself through practices like meditation or therapy, addressing your own wounds and biases. As you heal, you become a beacon of positive change, helping others heal and promoting a more compassionate and harmonious society. In doing so, we can collectively break free from the prisons of our own making and create a world where compassion and connectivity reign, guiding us towards a brighter future. That would be great right, a brighter future.
"To practice death is to practice freedom. A man who has learned how to die has unlearned how to be a slave." Montaigne's philosophy suggests that by becoming familiar with our mortality, we liberate ourselves from the shackles of fear. This practice of freedom involves letting go of the anxieties associated with the unknown and embracing life with a newfound sense of courage.