- Get comfortable in your seat. Sit with your back straight. Your eyes can be closed or open and looking down with a soft gaze, whichever feels more comfortable.
Feel your back firmly supported against the chair. Feel the sensation where your thighs rest against the seat of the chair. Feel the floor against your feet.
Take a deep breath in. Let it out. Take two more deep breaths at your own pace.
(Approximately 1 minute total time)
Compassion for Self and Priming the Pump of Compassion [Note: // = pause]
- Bring to mind a loving person or being who at some time in your life has wished you deep love and happiness. It could be a real person from the past or present like a teacher, an aunt, or friend.// If no person comes to mind, you could picture a spiritual being you feel connected to like a saint or spiritual guide.// If you are still searching for someone, you could bring to mind a beloved pet and feel their adoring eyes looking at you, or you could even just sense a loving energy. If no one comes to mind, for whatever reason, just imagine what it would feel like to have such whole-hearted love and kindness directed towards you.
Feel this person, being, or energy wishing you the deepest peace, // the deepest well being, // and the deepest joy. // Breathe this wish in like sunlight. Let beams of kindness and wellbeing fill your body.
Know that you are loved and know that the source of this love is boundless.
As your heart fills with the never ending warmth of peace and wellbeing, imagine yourself sending those feelings from your heart out to others who need to feel comfort and joy. The supply is never ending. You will never run short as you share this loving energy with others.//
Now dissolve the visualization and rest for a few moments in the vast openness of peace and
(3:30 min total)
Practice Breathing in Smoke, Transforming in the Heart, & Breathing Out Healing Light
- Now bring to mind a person you care about who is suffering or unhappy in some way. // They may have an illness or physical discomfort. They may be going through a divorce, afraid they will lose their job, wonder where money will come from. Maybe they have a bad back or have just lost someone close to them.// As you think about this person you care for, notice all of the difficulties in their life. // See each aspect of their suffering as a cloud of black smoke. This person may have several clouds of black smoke around them now. // You care about them and want to rid them of this black smoke and bring them happiness.
- Remembering that you will never run short of the love you generated a few moments ago, without fear, breathe in the black smoke from your loved one.
- As you breathe in the black smoke, notice that it meets the shell of fear, self-cherishing, and closedoff-ness that may surround your heart.// As you breathe in again, the black smoke cracks open the shell of separation around your heart and allows your heart to break open in loving white light. // Every single particle of black smoke is transformed into healing, loving light. Just as turning on a light completely transforms a dark room. Every bit of pain and suffering that you breathe in is transformed.
- Breathe in and watch your loved one as the black smoke of discomfort or despair leaves him or her and gets breathed into your heart to be transformed.
- Breathe out, sending this person the white light of healing and anything you have or can imagine that might make this person happy.
- Breathe in the black smoke of their mental or physical pain and fear. Watch as every last bit is transformed in your open, loving heart.
- Breathe out any type of healing and happiness this person could want in the form of white light. You might send them freedom from pain, send them the love they never got from their parents, send them a new house, money, a hug, a cup of tea. Send them a deep spiritual life, send endless love and healing.
- Continue to breathe in smoke with the in-breath. Watch it being transformed in your heart; then, send it out on the exhale as endless gifts of healing and joy in the form of white light.
- As you do this, imagine the person you care about beginning to smile. // See joy come to their face as all the suffering leaves their body and mind and enters your heart to be transformed.
- Allow yourself to feel joy at this transformation of the person you care about. There is no end to this transformation and healing that you are seeing.
(8:00 min total)
- Continue to breathe in the black smoke of suffering, and breathe out the white light of healing gifts. Notice your heart becoming more and more open, and your loved one feeling more and more amazement and joy. //Breathe in and out at your own pace for a few moments.
- Now that you know this transformation and healing light is boundless, bring to mind 3 or 4 more people you care about who are suffering in some way. One of these people could even be you if you want. Look at each face and acknowledge their suffering, their discontentment or hurt.// It doesn’t matter if the problem is big or little. // Notice the black smoke surrounding their unhappiness or pain and breathe that in to your heart.
- Watch your heart transform the black smoke into every healing thing these people could want or need, and send that out to them with the radiant white light. // It doesn’t matter if you know exactly what they want, just send out anything you could imagine them wanting or needing – even things as simple as a hug or bouquet of flowers // or as big as a new heart or a renewed faith in something.
- Breathe in the black smoke of suffering, watch it transform in your heart, and then breathe out healing white light.
- There is no end to this healing light. It is fed by the transformation of the suffering that happens in your own heart. Breathe in the black smoke of suffering. Transform every last particle of it in your heart, and as you exhale, send happiness and healing.
- As you breathe in and out, watch all of these people stand up straighter, smile bigger, and find a deeper happiness than they have ever known before.
(11:30 min total)
- As your confidence grows, bring to mind more people, 10 or 20 of them. Even those you barely know like the cashier at the grocery store, the security guard at the bank, the other drivers you passed on your way here.
- Just like you, all of these people have known suffering, pain, and disappointment, and just like you, they want some kind of happiness.
- Even though you may not know how these people are suffering day to day, see black smoke begin to surround them. Breathe this in, knowing that no matter how many people you see or how much black smoke you inhale, your open heart will always be able to transform it all. // Every particle of smoke will be transformed into white light, delivering everything each one of these people could want or need.
- Breathe in the smoke of their suffering, transform it in the vast, open, kindness of your heart, and exhale all of the love, happiness, and possessions everyone could possibly want.// Send out chocolate, music, flowers. See everyone being hugged. // See them being raised by loving parents. See them having enough money. Picture them robust with health. Maybe even see them playing with puppies or kittens. // See them wholly content, happy, loved, and loving.
- Imagine that whatever you send out makes everyone a happier, healthier person. Watch all of these people stand up straighter and become more joy-filled. There is no end to the transformation.////
(14:30 min total)
- Now that you have gained confidence, maybe even bring to mind someone you dislike a little at the moment, and add him or her to the group. This person too is suffering, and this person too just wants happiness but doesn’t know how to get it.
- Breathe in their suffering with everyone else’s. // See it transformed in your heart, which has room for everything. // Breathe out kindness and anything that might ease this person’s suffering as well as the suffering of everyone else in front of you.
- Breathe in, transform, and breathe out at your own pace for a few moments. //
- Now one last time, expand the number of beings who are suffering to include all of the people, animals, birds, even insects in the world who are suffering or unhappy in some way. // The suffering seems endless, but so is the transformational ability of your heart.// Breath in all of the suffering of the world; see it enter your heart, but the un-clinging love in your heart has the power to transform this suffering and discontentment into everything anyone could want or need.
- Breathe out this wish-fulfilling light to all beings in the world. There will always be enough. // Breathe in the black smoke, transform it in your heart, and breathe out the white light, sending it around the world to all beings again and again, feeling everyone becoming lighter and more joyful.//
- Breathe in, transform, and breathe out at your own pace, while visualizing this amazing transformation of yourself and all beings.//
- Now, dissolve this visualization and just rest in a vast sense of open-hearted healing and love for yourself and all beings.
- Dedicate any benefit this practice generated to the deepest peace, wellbeing, and happiness of all beings who, just like you, want to be happy and live in peace, but have no idea how to do it.
(17:30 min total)
- Now notice your feet on the floor, the sensation of your thighs against the seat, and your back being supported by your chair. Take a deep breath, and when you are ready, bring your full attention back into this room and take a moment to stretch if you’d like.
On the Spot Visualization
- In your daily life, you can do an on-the-spot visualization anytime you see someone, including yourself, suffering, or you notice yourself feeling angry at someone. Just look at them (or yourself) and think, “Just like me, they want to be happy”. Then breathe in their suffering in the form of black smoke, transform it in your heart, and send out white light to them, picturing that you are sending everything that will ease their suffering and yours. This can be done in 15 to 30 seconds, and no one has to know. Stealth visualization!