How the Nuclear Situation has Altered My Tonglen Practice

Eric Francis is unusually good and comprehensive on the enormity of the nuclear catastrophe at Fukushima, and its magnification through upcoming astrological transits. I agree with his assessment: if we get beyond April 23rd or 24th, (after giant Full Moon on the 19th and Equinox on the 21st) and things haven’t degenerated much further, then we’ll probably be able to avoid the unthinkable.

Meanwhile, what can we do to help moderate the situation? Well, for one thing, it helps to breathe. Fear constricts, to the point where we actually stop breathing. Conscious breathing opens the heart. Love pours in. Love or fear. These are the choices. It’s really quite stark.

I’ve noted in several posts since the Japan quake that, just as after 9/11, I have found myself practicing the Buddhist breathing technique called tonglen. Breathe the world’s suffering into the heart; transmute; breathe out love and compassion.

Meanwhile, as I continue to skim the various, and somewhat contradictory, channeled reports as to whether or not the earthquake was manmade or natural, I’m struck by the unanimity in them as to one factor: that Mother Earth is going through a cleansing process, and that this involves release of negative energies through giant storms, volcanic eruptions, and unusually large earthquakes.

“Release of negative energies”: I’m reminded of a conversation with my late husband Jeff Joel, about how the earth has been trampled for centuries with the blood and gore of armies, the bedraggled footsteps of starving migrants, and, in the past 300 years, the industrial and chemical and nuclear waste that we so cavalierly “throw away.” As if there is an “away” on a finite planet that is now, especially since revolutionary Uranus entered fiery Aries (March 11), demonstrating in blaring and excruciating detail just how interconnected we are, with both each other, and all of nature.

Let’s add to this understanding, that of an apparent balance being created between the enormous release of negativity and the initiation of the 9th Unity Wave of the Mayan Calendar (March 9): an enormous intensification of the frequencies of light bathing the planet. This intensification is palpable to anyone who has cleared or is in the process of clearing his or her old reactive patterns. Clearing our patterns opens the spiritual pores, so to speak, and lets in that light.

With this balancing action in mind, I have shifted my tonglen practice, to simultaneously incorporate both the light and the dark. It is a practice that comes quite naturally to anyone who works with chi kung and/or tai chi, where we are continuously absorbing, integrating and releasing currents of chi from all directions. Here is the practice:

Standing or sitting: On the inbreath: absorb the intensifying light into the crown chakra of the head and the compacted darkness buried in the earth through the feet. Absorb these energies, the light and the dark, from above and below, simultultaneously on the inbreath into the heart. Transmute. On the exhale: breathe out love horizontally throughout all of the kingdoms of nature, including humanity.

Lying down: On the inbreath: simultaneously absorb the intensifying light into the front of the body from above and the compacted darkness into the back of the body from below. Concentrate in the heart and transmute. On the exhale: breath out love . . .

I find this practice even more satifying than the original. In absorbing the darkness, I absorb the currents of past and present nuclear suffering of people in Japan as it descends into the earth, crosses the ocean floor, up through the land mass of western U.S. into my body in Bloomington, Indiana.

If I didn’t realize our interconnectedness, or, in the beautiful metaphor of chaos theory, the global effects of a butterfly’s fluttering wing, I’d think this practice foolish.

But I do realize our interconnectedness, and I’m so very grateful.

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0 Responses to How the Nuclear Situation has Altered My Tonglen Practice

  1. maggie says:

    Beautiful Ann. Thank you.

  2. Dearest Maggie, and thank you for caring, as I do, so deeply, for this Earth we have so unthinkingly inhabited as a species.

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  5. A few years ago, while attending a workshop, I was taught the tonglen practice. At first, I was surprised since I had never been exposed to the act of intentionally taking in a “negative” energy into myself. But, I found this to be an incredibly powerful and humbling thing to do, and I felt my compassion grow with it. What an incredible validation of our power as spirit, knowing full well that we can transmute the negative to the positive. And instead of sending light somewhere, which leaves that “somewhere” feeling remote and removed from self, tonglen brings that suffering up close, as if bringing a crying baby close up to one’s heart. Intimacy grows. Thank you for offering your variation, I may well try this in my next meditation.

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