There’s a lot of suffering out there. We know that, and many of us want to do something about it. This practice, known as tonglen, can be translated as “sending and receiving.” It is a compassion practice, where you breathe in the things that are painful or uncomfortable for others and breathe out, sending those people pleasing, soothing qualities. Tonglen is a somewhat advanced practice—I do not recommend it for beginning meditators (perhaps try this loving-kindness practice instead if you are new to meditation). That said, it’s very powerful to do, particularly at times of personal or societal tragedy.

Through engaging in this rather intense practice we learn to become more open-hearted, offering our empathetic aspirations to people we know as well as to the world at large. It is wise to begin training in tonglen practice on the meditation seat, but after a while you may find yourself doing it naturally throughout your day.

Related: A Meditation to Cultivate Patience