Pema Chödrön on “sharing the heart”

From Heart Advice comes this quote from Pema Chödrön’s The Places That Scare You:

Sharing the heart is a simple practice that can be used at any time and in every situation. It enlarges our view and helps us remember our interconnection.

The essence of this practice is that when we encounter pain in our life we breathe into our heart with the recognition that others also feel this. It’s a way of acknowledging when we are closing down and of training to open up. When we encounter any pleasure or tenderness in our life, we cherish that and rejoice. Then we make the wish that others could also experience this delight or this relief.

In a nutshell, when life is pleasant, think of others. When life is a burden, think of others. If this is the only training we ever remember to do, it will benefit us tremendously and everyone else as well. It’s a way of bringing whatever we encounter onto the path of awakening bodhichitta.

For more from Pema, look for “A Greater Happiness” in our current, November magazine — it’s a new teaching about letting go of self-centered worries and becoming a bodhisattva-warrior. And, for a selection of her best from the pages of the Shambhala Sun, see our Pema Chödrön Spotlight Page.