Taking and Sending

Ken explains and introduces Taking and Sending in several podcasts with different degrees of detail. Here's an introduction from What to Do about Christmas.

Taking and Sending (from What to Do about Christmas? (00:18:53.00 - 00:24:27.30)
Ken: One of the more powerful techniques that I know which I think is particularly appropriate for this time of year is the technique of taking and sending. Now taking and sending is a specific technique from the genre of mind training in the Tibetan tradition.

The way mind training techniques work is that they bring a particular perspective and approach to the world into friction with our habituated way of approaching the world, and that friction generates heat and if you can stay in the heat that fuels your attention and you can experience things completely.

So our next meditation together will build on what we’ve just done.

As you breathe in, take in all of the feelings of regret, shame, guilt, criminality, negativity, you know the whole bit from all other beings. Now if you want to make this a bit more specific--because all other beings is a bit big for most of us--start with your family, say. Because there’s a lot of family stuff that goes around at this time.

Take in all of their feelings of shame and regret and experience them for them. Experience those feelings for them. So that they are free of it. Just as some of you found out when you experience it completely it’s freed.

So you are going to experience their feelings completely. And everything that you feel good about, that you feel you’ve accomplished, that you feel good about yourself over the last year as you are now, this is what you give to other people so that they experience it completely.

Now we make this a little easier for ourselves by imagining that all of those negative and painful and difficult feelings take the form of black smoke and come in as we breath in through our right nostril and into our heart.

And all of those good feelings things that we enjoy and feel good about and makes you feel warm and open and clear, have a place in the world etc., all of those take the form of moonlight coming out of our heart and going to them out through the left nostril and going to them.

So you don’t have to do a lot of thinking here and that’s one of the things that many people fall into in taking and sending. They do a lot of thinking. Just take a couple of feelings and use that breath coming in to feel what is painful or difficult or disturbing completely. And the light going out so that you feel what is positive and joyful and happy and spacious and all of that.

And what’s very important here that I’ve found is do both with each breath. Don’t concentrate on the one because those of you who are more comfortable feeling bad will just go, [heavily] “Uh! Uh! Uh!” and those who are more comfortable feeling good will go, “Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!” and it gets totally out of balance. So you do each one with each breath.

Any questions? Trudy.

Trudy: When you say taking in all their shame and bad feelings and negativity, you mean as you imagine they feel it?

Ken: Well, what else are you going to work with?

Trudy: Your own.

Ken: Pardon?

Trudy: You could work with your feelings generated by the difficulties you’re having and you know try to...

Ken: No, you’re taking their feelings. And the result of that is you are going to feel your own more completely, okay? And also in the other direction as you give away your own happiness and joy you actually have to experience it. Causes a lot of trouble for some people.

Student: And they’ll get happy.

Ken: Yeah.

Student: They’ll experience their own [unclear], too.

Ken: Well that’s more of the joy aspect. Because this exchange is taking place you feel really good about it.

Okay? Any other questions? Okay. Let’s do this together. Yes?

Student: My right nostril... at the moment--does that matter? Cause at the moment my dominant nostril is the left.

Ken: Just imagine it; whether the breath actually goes through that nostril or not doesn’t matter.

Student: Then you imagine it coming out through the heart?

Ken: The black comes in through the right [nostril] and the light goes out through the left [nostril].

Student: Did you mention heart?

Ken: Yes both, one comes into your heart and the other comes out of your heart.

Student: But you don’t transform it?

Ken: It’s not a transformation of one into the other. No, you get, you know, it’s just the old thing we have in L.A., in with the bad air and out with the good air! [Laughter]



The Violin Case

Violin Case (from AFB02: Awakening From Belief 00:48:54.80-00:50:02.90

(download into iTunes)

Well, for instance, a lot of people think of karma as a balancing mechanism in the universe. It's what makes the universe just. Well, that's just a projection of the human value of justice on the world. It's nonsense. It's totally unjust. When you really appreciate how karma operates, how this process operates, you realize you have about as much room to move as a violin in a violin case. Fortunately, it's enough. So the choice points, to go to your point that you're raising, are few and fleeting. That’s why mindfulness is so very very important. Because through the practice of attention, through the cultivation of attention in the practice of mindfulness, you actually create more and more choice points.