This slogan relates to the practice of tonglen, a Tibetan word for sending and taking. We use our breath in meditation, but instead of merely focusing on the breath, we focus on exhaling the things that we want and inhaling those that we don’t want. For example, we exhale peace, tolerance, love, and understanding, and we breathe in the burden of hate, suffering, anger, and pain. We inhale this dark cloud and we turn it into a white light, which we exhale.
Tonglen sounds a bit heavy and frightening when you first think about it, but it is a very powerful meditation technique that can make you feel stronger and less helpless. It can seem very much like prayer, and in this regard it challenges us to pray not only for ourselves, our families, and those close to us, but also for those we don’t like, those we disagree with, and even those who we believe mean us harm. Challenging stuff!