The Heart Meditation


For millennia, people in the Eastern world have followed a practice called Tonglen.  It was described in the first century by the Tibetan Heart master Atisha as “giving and taking on the breath” or simply “giving and receiving.”   The purpose of Tonglen is to develop compassion, kindness, and equanimity and to enhance our ability to be present to the suffering in the world.  It is often used to send healing energies to specific individuals, situations, or to the Earth.

In this process, you will partnerwith a friend, sit facing one another, and take turns guiding one another in this meditation.  Before you begin, envision the two of you connecting as one loving presence, releasing all sense of boundaries and distinctions that arise in the world of form. 

Partner A then offers this meditation to Partner B.  If you wish, you can experience this meditation together (or alone) by listening to the recording that is available online;otherwise—when you have read the meditation once—reverse roles and Partner B can read the meditation to Partner A.

Sit comfortably and close your eyes . . .  Take a few deep breaths and relax your body.


Focus your awareness on the middle of your chest, the heart center . . . 

You might imagine that you are fanning the flames of the heart with each in-breath . . .  Feel the warmth of the flame spreading throughout your body on the out-breath.


Visualize your heart center as a window into the vastness that is your true nature . . . From this place of limitlessness, look out at the world of form . . . Now imagine breathing form back in through the window of the heart . . . Breathe in form and breathe out formlessness, emptiness . . . Radiate presence and love with every exhalation.


Notice any thoughts and breathe them in through the window of the heart . . .  Once again, breathe in form and breathe out formlessness . . . Radiate silence that is empty of thought.


Now notice any emotions and breathe them in through the window of the heart . . . Take all the time you need to breathe in emotions and breathe out emptiness.

(Pause for 1 - 2 minutes)

Now continue to do the same with any physical sensations you may be feeling . . .  Breathe in any sensations you are feeling and breathe out warmth, love, and stillness.

(Pause for 1 - 2 minutes)

Continue to absorb with the in-breath . . . and radiate with the out-breath . . .  Make no distinction between thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations . . .  Continue with this practice until it becomes as natural as breathing.


Slowly open your eyes and continue to radiate love, presence, and silence.



This process was adapted fromThe Co-Creator’s Handbook 2.0 by

Carolyn P. Anderson, co-created with Katharine Roske © 2016 Global Family

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