There is stillness in the world and there is stillness in the mind. They echo each other. The observer and the observed.
When I am very confused, depressed, anxious, or otherwise bothered, one sure-fire way to get myself out of that “obsessive thought pattern” is Tonglen. And I view that as a form of “projection.” But it always works to put my concerns about myself out there in the interest of someone else, or many people, who might at that moment be suffering as I am.
What is tonglen? Tonglen is breathing in suffering and breathing out healing. Breathe in the other’s suffering. Breathe out the other’s healing.
We project when we are singing or you wouldn’t sing at all, but you also listen while you are singing or you couldn’t sing along. I promise you that you really do suffer, and you really do heal. Suffering and healing are present and universally understood. These aren’t projections, nor are relationships, between the self and beings around the self, illusory.
I really don’t feel that it is a projection. I feel that I share the other’s suffering. You do.
And that he/she can share my healing. It’s like adrenaline in the blood. It flows between beings like your adrenaline flows between cells, as do other chemicals/signals.
So another question. Can you listen while thinking? Listen to the world around you while thinking something over?
You can associate while thinking. That comes naturally. One thing reminding you of something else because reality and its elements is indeed a shared continuum.
I hear but don’t listen. You sense but don’t see.
Empathize with another while considering similar things in my own life. Yes, you can indeed do that. We naturally empathize, associate, affiliate. This takes no effort. It is the core of meaning.
This is why ‘active listening’ is a trained skill now. Yes, strange we have to do that no?
Tonglen is also like this. “In the practice, one visualizes taking onto oneself the suffering of others on the in-breath, and on the out-breath giving happiness and success to all sentient beings. As such it is a training in altruism.” From wikipedia.
They have proven that in FMRI testing, the region of the brain they associate with having an empathic response fires more readily, grows a bit larger and more sophisticated.
Mirror neurons. Yes, and achieves this through simple attention, awareness, that thing that gives meaning while we are too busy thinking, and gives meaning often times without regard to what we believe it is that we think.
Your thoughts are welcome. Be well friends.