Tonglen MeditationMay 29, 2022
Loving-kindness meditation practice is deeply beneficial for the individual, relationships, and society. A simple start- compassion meditations are the highest form of energetic and brainwave state which can shift deep trauma patterns, fearful belief systems and build connection (according to research*). Know the research to motivate your dedication to this practice.
Compassion is the “understanding and accepting that we’re all made of strength and struggle - no one is immune from pain or suffering” according to Brene Brown in Atlas of the Heart pg.117. It seems that definitions of compassion agree that there is an action associated with it that demonstrates care and kindness.
Research on compassion meditators demonstrates that this style produces more gamma brain wave states (that flow state) than other styles of meditation. The heart is not an energetic form that can be limited or ‘maxed out’ in any way. It is an ever-expanding energetic form that like all energy can become blocked by fear.
The practices within ‘compassion’ support different aspects of expanding our hearts. Studies have shown that ‘loving-kindness’ practices increase our ability to judge less and deepen our connection with others.
Pema Chodron American Buddhist nun teaches that compassion moves us towards what we fear in a relaxed state of our shared humanity. Compassionate action is not about fixing or making things better, but to sit with another and their discomfort. To not fix things is the hard part that people are tired of. Why? Because we need to build resilience to be alongside others without fixing or pitying them for their pain.
This is a beginner’s version of the traditional Buddhist loving-kindness meditation practice.
Why do Tonglen-style Meditation?
In Tibetan, it means “giving and receiving”, which is the purpose of the practice. To learn to give to another and to receive the same back from another. The practice is designed to:
- Acceptance of suffering
- Enhance non-attachment
- Engender altruistic behaviours
- Renunciation of greed, desires, cravings and lust (negative feelings)
- Purifies karma by giving and receiving
- Develop and expand loving-kindness
A practice that focuses on such positivity and balance, is a very healing practice. Healing needs are often underestimated and deeply hidden from the conscious mind.
Loving-kindness both given and received can heal without the need to 'know’ the negativity or suffering that originated the need for healing.
The traditional version includes visualisations of smoke and colours to transmute the negative energy, clearing karma. The emotions and visualisation of this practice alone will be sufficient for the practice to work the same.
The two-fold benefit of this practice
(1) MEDITATOR FEELS PEACEFUL
The practice engenders a peaceful feeling of kindness on the meditator. Loving-kindness and compassion meditations have been shown in studies to produce the most profound positive effects of meditation practices. If you are unsure where to go with your meditation practice, then this is a great all healing and positive practice to undertake.
(2) RECIPIENT BENEFITS FROM LOVING VIBES
A meditation that sends healing and loving energy to another person changes the recipient’s energy vibrations to that of a healing state. Studies have shown that whether the meditator believes in energy healing or not, focused intention to send healing love to another does affect their energy. The recipient does receive the healing regardless of the healer’s intention. Therefore, the practice of sending healing love is helping another regardless of the belief.
Tips for the Practice
- Be comfortable throughout the practice.
- The loving healing focus of this practice is not to change another, but to provide them with unconditional support for healing to their best self. The healing love sent to the other person is to be for their good and of the world, this is not perhaps how we sometimes perceive what we think is best for someone else. Regardless of your opinions, beliefs and views focus on just the feeling of unconditional love.
- See the person through the eyes of love. This practice is one of seeing the beautiful aspects of someone in their full person and soul. Embrace all of the person as this is what makes them unique and on their path.
- You can change the person in the healing for each individual practice, but stick with one person throughout the practice.
Where else can you enjoy the meditation?
If you wish to dive deeper into compassion practices, then join Nid for the weekly yoga nidra class.
Alternatively, join a Clarity Breathwork ceremony where we breathe directly into our heart to increase our heart energy and deeply connect to our compassionate soul.
*Research Note: The research linked for this article summarises many other studies in this specific area of focus or compassion meditation practices. Please see there for further studies that contribute to this blog post.
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