Tuesday, May 20, 2008

When contrasting the Western "out with the bad, in with the good" to the Tong-Len "breathe in pain, breathe out light", it is usually stressed that the Western vision is less generous than the Tibetan. Let's note, however, that the Western is physiologically more accurate.

But the melodrama encased in the pain/light or bad/good dichotomy -- while it might condense cyclothymic waves into multi-second units -- focuses on the world rather than one's reaction to the world. And, since around 1601, we've all known that "the world is neither bad nor good but that thinking makes it so", so if the two keys to psychological equilibrium are gratitude for what goes well and patience with misfortune, maybe riding gratitude and patience on the breath is a happy compromise between east and west?

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