Saturday, December 15, 2007

tonglen- a moment of actual Buddhism

What do you do when it's 3 am and your baby is up again, inconsolable?

You think about all the other parents who are up at 3 am with you, holding their inconsolable babies. You breathe in and think about how they feel just like you, how you're connected to them because you're all up at this ungodly dark hour, trying to soothe a baby, trying not to think about how deliciously warm and soft your bed is. You breathe out and think of the peace we all want to feel, the comfort we all want for our babies.

I remember practicing this as suggested-- in the middle of a traffic jam. I was holding my breath, in a hurry, when I remembered that every other person on the road felt the exact same way. So I breathed in our frustration, breathed out some peace and unwound a bit, and lo and behold. Traffic didn't move faster but I felt a lot better.

Pema Chodron says it in another way here.