Taking & Sending Meditation

by Joan Halifax Roshi

This mediation can be done for yourself, for your loved one, or for groups of people (the world, your family, your co-workers etc.). The person or people you are doing it for do not need to be present for the meditation. This is a good exercise for a caregiver to do for themselves. If you are feeling anxious about your loved one’s death, for example, you can visualize the “anxious caregiver”. Any part of you or someone else that needs compassion can be addressed with this mediation.

The Meditation: Taking with Compassion & Sending with Love

* We will illustrate the meditation in terms of the caregiver doing the mediation for the person who is ill, but it can be applied to any circumstance.

Caregiver: Bring the mind home. Rest in the nature of compassion. If you choose, invoke a deity who represents compassion to you. Become aware of your loved one’s suffering. Begin to generate compassion for her. Begin to feel a wish that she be free of suffering. You feel the wish so deeply that you become willing to take the suffering from her.

As you breathe in you visualize your loved one’s suffering congealing into dark smoke and coming out of her body and coming into every pore of your body and into the center of your heart.

As you breathe out you visualize that you’re sending your loving kindness and healing as white moonlight.

The dark smoke and white moonlight are visualizations to keep your mind focused. If they seem cumbersome you can let go of them. The main practice is the feelings of love and compassion. You are not taking the pain or disease, but taking the suffering with compassion.