When we let go of our battles and open our hearts to things as they are, then we come to rest in the present moment. Jack Kornfield
Dear Ones, Lately, I’ve been feeling deeply down-hearted and distracted! With all the uncertainties in the world, like climate change, economic uncertainty, the questionable future of democracy, all the wars, coups, conflicts and craziness, I’m finding it very hard to be focused, grounded, centered and to have a positive attitude towards the future and my life. In spite of meditating at least an hour a day, I seem to have the attention span of a gnat. I’ve talked to many people who report similar experiences. What I see is that I have an opinion that things should be different, they shouldn’t be the way they are!
But, things are the way they are; lives are being lost, homes destroyed, people are hungry and homeless and politicians are lying, cheating and stealing… There’s a part of me that wants to curl up in bed, pull the covers over my head and sleep for a very long time. But, there’s another part of me that wants to be alive, to fully feel and experience what’s happening in our world right now, and to try to make a difference with this life I’ve been given. So I have decided to bring my light to the darkness and open myself fully to the suffering of the world… Perhaps you would like to join me?
Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that. Martin Luther King Jr.
Beginning on January 21st, the day before the winter solstice, until January 1st I will be doing a fast and Tonglen meditation to open myself up to the suffering and pain in the world. The process begins in stillness, as you breathe in the dark, heavy, unwanted energy of pain and suffering that a family member or friend is experiencing. Then, with the out breath you send out your love, light and happiness to them. As you progress in this meditation you build compassion towards yourself and all the people in the world who are experiencing pain and suffering.
Tonglen, means receiving and sending. I learned this ancient meditation from Pema Chödrön many years ago. It’s kind of like turning your body and breath into a mental sewage treatment plant. It’s a powerful and transformative meditation practice for experiencing our deep interconnectedness with all of life… In this newsletter you will find a video with Pema explaining the process. It might sound scary and difficult, but actually you become the primary beneficiary of the process.
Tonglen means "taking in and sending out". This meditation practice is designed to help ordinary people like ourselves connect with the openness and softness of our hearts. Instead of shielding and protecting our soft spot, with Tonglen we could let ourselves feel what it is to be human. Pema Chödrön
I invite you to participate with me in any way that feels right. I know it is the holidays, a time when many of you will be with family. It’s also a time when we can become triggered by memories of earlier disappointments, traumas and challenges....a perfect time to engage in this practice. Here are some ways that you might want to participate:
Join me for the 10 day fast and meditation (I’ll be doing the Master Cleanse, but a juice or water fast would also be good)
Just do it for a day or two (or even a few minutes) and design your own program and prayers for opening your heart to the world.
Tune in for my daily Facebook broadcast where I will be sharing what I learn and what I’m experiencing, Join me at noon Pacific time each day from the 22nd to the end of the month on the Well of Light Facebook page.
Invite your friends to join in and be a part of the Well of Light Community experiment.
Or if you feel called you could make a donation to the Well of Light and support our radio shows and many free offerings.
The idea is to connect more deeply with, not only the suffering of the world, but our own pain and struggle, which connects us with the world. We have so much to be grateful for in this life. Sharing our light, joy, happiness and compassion with the world will help to bring about a world that works for all life. Let’s give the gift of presence this year, and give, and give, and give… It doesn’t serve anyone to be miserable, just because there’s so much suffering in the world. You have within you the light, love and abundant joy that the world is longing for - see it, share it, shout it, and watch the lights of the world begin to shine just a little more brightly…
We are so grateful to you for being part of the Well of Light community. Thank you for your partnership in the intentional evolution toward a just and compassionate human presence on the planet. May you fill the holidays and the coming decade with the illumination of the collective heart.
With infinite love and gratitude, Michael, Meriel and the Well of Light Team
Participate joyfully in the sorrows of the world. We cannot cure the world of sorrows, but we can choose to live in joy. Joseph Campbell