A Powerful Book on Meditation

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Do you meditate?

Recently I received an incredible book about a meditation technique called Tonglen meditation.

Love on Every Breath: Tonglen Meditation for Transforming Pain into Joy by Lama Palden Drolma is a rich, practical exploration of an 8-part meditation that steps from the Tibetan Buddhist tradition.

The author, Lama, has studied extensively with preeminent Tibetan masters including Kalu Rinpoche, who authorized her to become one of the first Western lamas. She has also founded a Tibetan Buddhis center in California.

The book also offers non-Buddhist variations of the meditation that can be easily adapted for those of different religions or those who do not identify with a specific religion.

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Here are a few of my favorite moments from the book:

On meditating in the moment:

The On-the-Spot method is highly adaptable and can be used in any moment when you see suffering, whether it is in the grocery store, in traffic, or at a dance concert. Healing our own wounding and suffering with love gives us the capacity to be present with and truly love others. As we heal, our innate goodness, our innate wisdom and love, comes into the forefront of our consciousness and infuses our speech and actions.”

On releasing old wounds:

“Sometimes we are attached to our misery and don’t really want to give it up. It may not be fun, but we are used to it. There is a certain familiarity to it. It may be a big part of us, and we might feel a scary, empty space if we let go. In the letting go process, we often feel our pain acutely as it comes up, right before it releases. When a wounding originally takes place, we do not usually have the resources to deal with what is happening, so we repress it, shoving the pain away, or we split off from it… In life, in general, or in doing spiritual or psychological work, we may bring up old pain in order to release it, flushing it out… It is important at this time to remember that our distress, discomfort, and pain is on its way out.”

Cultivating awakened mind:

“This meditation can be used whenever you feel a need or desire to generate altruism or compassion, or want to offer your activities to a larger purpose… [say the words]: May my work benefit many people… Cultivate the wish to fully awaken in order to completely free others and yourself from suffering and to establish everyone in complete freedom, joy and peace.”

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Truly, what a beautiful book. I feel blessed to have a copy, and plan to share it often with others.