Thirty-Seven Practices of a Bodhisattva: Verse 18
When you are down and out, held in contempt,
Desperately ill and emotionally crazed,
Don’t lose heart. Take into you
The suffering and negativity of all beings — this is the practice of a bodhisattva.
There are moments you think you’ve hit rock bottom. Especially awful — when someone has bad news for you.
You remember hearing your supervisor’s voice, it seemed unreal: “Your work isn’t up to par. And you don’t get along with your colleagues.” You lost your job. You felt smashed.
Or the time your marriage ended, when your husband said: “I’ve lost my faith in us, It’s not going to work.” Crying, You knew it was over.
Think of the time your doctor said. “It looks like the chemo isn’t working.” Your heart sank, the dread overwhelming.
There’s nothing worse than the moment you’re getting bad news.
Then try this: Exchanging self for others.
You already feel terrible, worse than you’ve ever felt before. It can’t get any worse, it’s time to take in everyone’s suffering. You’re already there anyway.
Imagine all the women who lost a job they loved, and the women whose husbands just left them. Think of the women who just found out they’re going to die. Breathe in their sadness, their feelings of failure and loss, their cries of despair and sorrow. It can’t get worse. Let everyone’s suffering into your heart.
Then slowly breathe out the happiness you used to feel, imagine that white light of joy dancing through the air, a flood of relief surrounding each woman’s suffering. Then do it again.
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