From: A Trackless Path 2
Gary: Just curious Ken, about how chö could be possibly--I mean, I know this is all individual, but in terms of dealing with the walled-off material and looking at the primary practice and the steps you've talked especially about--you know, opening your heart--I'm wondering if there's any way someone can incorporate that practice.
Ken: In chö?
Gary: Well, chö and in a certain step in the primary practice if that's possible.
Ken: Well, take a step back. One way to view taking and sending, or tonglen is, it's a way of forming a relationship with elements of our experience from which we are alienated.
Student: Can you say that again?
Ken: It's a way of forming a relationship with elements of our experience from which we're alienated. So, for instance, we don't really like our anger so with taking and sending we take in the anger of all sentient beings and give joy to them. It's a way of forming a relationship with anger. You follow?
Chö is a dramatic enactment of taking and sending. So those parts of our experience from which we're extremely alienated, usually described as the "karmic debt collectors," we invite and we give them what we're most attached to--our own body. So it's a way of forming a relationship with those aspects of our experience from which we're most alienated. Follow?
Now if one looks at the cultivation of attention as the sort of central trunk of practice we may find, and often do, that we run into things in us--and sometimes very large portions--which we don't have any way of accessing or working with directly. And then we use special techniques such as taking and sending or chö or yidam practice or four immeasurables or whatever to work on things quite explicitly so that certain qualities and certain abilities develop so that we can open to those experiences.
And for some people, those practices just speak to them more powerfully so they go with it. They work with those.
Gary: So the idea is to be able to stay relaxed and rest while your doing those practices?
Ken: Very definitely. Very definitely. The power of resting is extraordinary. Tense your hand and touch the table. And if you then relax your hand and touch the table you'll have two different experiences. And which of those do you have the more complete experience of the table? It's the same principle applies. And so whenever you find yourself hardening that actually is something to pay attention to. Okay? Because you're hardening against something. One always hardens in order to avoid experiencing something.
Gary: Even while doing taking and sending and power chö. Right?
Ken: Definitely. Yeah. I mean, if you're hardening doing taking and sending there's something over there you don't want to experience. Yep.