Today, Rob shares a special article and an audio with us about Tonglen Meditation and how it can help us to live a more purposeful life.
I hope you enjoy Rob’s article and audio as much as I have!
By Rob Ragozzine
I’m often asked, “How can I find my purpose?” This is a very important question. Many of us have it buried within our hearts. But, we often don’t spend enough time contemplating it. We ask the question, and then let it slip away. We need to hold onto this question, as contemplating it adds vitality, depth and meaning to our lives. Understanding your purpose is a process of finding out who you are and that can be a life-long process.
I believe that we are all seeking to live out our life purpose, even if we do not yet know what it is. We feel a deep yearning to bring change, healing and vitality into the world. We feel called to action. I feel that when we start to act on our yearning, then we are truly fulfilling our purpose. Fulfilling our purpose helps to add color and meaning to our lives.
One way to better understand your purpose is to work with Numerology. In Numerology your purpose can be seen through your Core Numbers and your Life Path Number. As you may already know, the Life Path is about finding your place within the world. Following its guidance can help you to find your purpose. What do you want to do with your life? What do you feel called to change or create? The Life Path number helps you to begin answering these questions. Honoring your Life Path requires real and honest work on your part. When you’re living up to your fullest potential, and not hiding or dragging your feet, you’re living life through the power of your Life Path.
Part of living purposefully is understanding that you may have challenges, fears and doubts. As you learn more about yourself you can get a better handle on those things or situations that trigger you. But, instead of hiding or retreating, you can find a way to bring more stability and serenity into your life. Learning and working regularly with meditation techniques can help you to achieve this.
One meditation technique that I feel is very helpful is Tonglen. It’s a meditation practice that allows you to transform issues as you breathe in and out. Buddhist nun, author and teacher Pema Chodron talks about this technique extensively. She says, “The tonglen practice is a method for connecting with suffering-ours and that which is all around us-everywhere we go. It is a method for overcoming fear of suffering and for dissolving the tightness of our heart.”
In order to truly have compassion for others, we have to first have developed compassion for ourselves. You’ve probably heard this, or something similar, many times throughout your life. But, working with Tonglen can help you to more fully appreciate it. Tonglen allows you to take a moment to connect with an issue and transform the pain connected to it. You start with doing the process for yourself and gradually work up to including family and friends. But it starts with caring for yourself first. Once you can honestly care for yourself, then you are prepared to support others.
With Tonglen, you have the opportunity to breathe in pain and breathe out freedom and joy. Tonglen isn’t a process you take on lightly. Understand that every breath is an opportunity to transform. Also, it’s important to know that you’re not storing anything within yourself. Instead, you’re visualizing the issue as being changed and transformed within your heart.
Before proceeding, you may wish to spend some time in quiet reflection to consider whether it feels okay to do this practice. Also, find a way to respect and honor the values and practices of other people and cultures when you do this practice. They may have values and beliefs that are very different than your own.
Be patient and don’t feel as if you must work with Tonglen. Perhaps, you might first need to learn more about your purpose and develop greater compassion for yourself. When you feel like it is appropriate to work with Tonglen, you can begin. Use your discernment, judgement and wisdom. If healing within yourself needs to take place first, then allow for the healing of whatever needs to be healed.
Proceed at your own pace. But, know that you don’t have to stay with any particular negative feeling. You can transform it for yourself and others who are experiencing the same thing. For instance, instead of being stuck in uncertainty about a choice you’re making, use Tonglen to see any issues around it being transformed. See any fears or doubts changed into joy and acceptance.
Over time you’ll be able to work with Tonglen to work through your issues, instead of feeling blocked, confused or stuck. Your work can help you to step ever more deeply into your purpose. We all have the ability to achieve our dreams and reach our goals.
Don’t let your doubts or insecurities hold you back. As you mature, develop and step more fully into your purpose, you’ll begin to recognize wonderful qualities, skills, and abilities deep within you that were always there. But, to see them clearly, you needed to first accept your purpose and the call of your heart. You will discover that you can use these abilities to live a purposeful and meaningful life.
Copyright 2013 Rob Ragozzine.
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Wishing you a meditative and purposeful day!!