The 44: The Capacity to Take in Difficulty
I hope the Tonglen practice is going well for you. I mentioned this before, but there’s a key effect that this practice has: it shows us our capacity to take in difficulty.
We normally want to get away from difficulty. We don’t like fear, discomfort, sadness, frustration. We do what we can to relieve it, to push it away, to ignore it.
But what if we stopped pushing it away, and instead leaned into it, and took it into ourselves?
By breathing in our stress, anger, difficulty … we’re showing that we are stronger than we think. We’re showing that we have the capacity to take in what we normally think we can’t.
At first, some of you might have difficulty taking in this dark stuff. It can create a feeling of panic, of disgust, as you have a strong urge to push away the dark matter. That’s OK. Attempt to do it in small doses, and see what you can do for now. You’ll get better with practice.
But over time, I strongly believe that you’ll be able to take in even the most difficult of emotions. You’ll be able to breathe it in, and be perfectly fine. That’s amazing. You’re stronger than you think!
With this knowledge, you are now ready to take on a world of suffering. You have expanded your capacity and range. Wonderful job!