Feb 4 sorrows

I woke up with the lyrics to an old Peter Paul and Mary song filling my mind and spirit

If somehow you could pack up your sorrows

and give them all to me

you would lose them

I know how to use them

Give them all to me

These lyrics by Mimi and Richard Farina reminded me of the Buddhist breathing practice of tonglen  as taught by many Buddhist scholars and philosophers including Pema Chodrïn. The essence of tonglen is:

Breathe in sorrow

Breathe in difficulty

Breathe in trouble

Breathe in pain

Breathe in fear and self-loathing

Breathe in anger and resentment

Like some kind of a Buddhist vacuum cleaner sucking up negativity and transforming it into grace, harmony, peace

let what you breathe touch your heart and mind, body and spirit and fill it with compassion, understanding, acceptance

breathe that compassion into the world, thereby transforming negativity and the world

not to mention transforming yourself in the process

the essence of this practice seems to flip the western concept of breathe in the good air and breathe out the bad.

That flip makes me smile.

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