“Whenever anything happens, the first thing to do is take the pain on yourself.” (Trungpa) — Give up the good feelings so someone else can benefit. This is connected with developing the Paramita of Discipline. Open your territory completely, let go of everything.
Kongtrul says: Take on all the suffering that will come to you in the future, then you’ll be able to take on others’ suffering.
Radical stuff. Like the Tibetan mountain paths, it’s not for the faint-hearted.
But it’s probably the best program ever devised for helping yourself learn to be more compassionate to others…
This one is a bit tricky. But on a clear, everyday practice level it can be understood simply. When you find something unpleasant – negative emotional states or other problematic things – going on in yourself, you breathe them in. Then on the out-breath, you send out to the world some positive quality in yourself, which requires that compassionate, unselfish motivation we’ve been talking about encouraging. It also helps you feel better about yourself, because you realize these good qualities are there for you to breath out.
The idea is that this is the beginning point for the tonglen practice. Things get a bit more complicated as it develops, so it’s best to be able to be very clear about ones’ motivation and willingness to do the practice. Beginning with yourself helps with that process.