Atisha's Heart Meditation
Pain is natural; it has to be understood, it has to be accepted. Because naturally we are afraid of pain, naturally we avoid it. Hence many people have avoided the heart and are hung up in the head, they live in the head.
The heart gives pain, true, but only because it can give pleasure--that's why it gives pain. Pain is the way that pleasure arrives; agony, the door that ecstasy enters. If one is aware of it, one accepts the pain as a blessing. Then suddenly the quality of the pain immediately starts changing. You are no longer antagonistic to it, and because you are no longer antagonistic to it, it is no longer pain; it is a friend. It is a fire that is going to cleanse you. It is a transmutation, a process, in which the old will go and the new will arrive, in which the mind will disappear and the heart will function in its totality. Then life is a benediction.
Try this method from Atisha:
When you breathe in--listen carefully, it is one of the greatest methods--when you breathe in, think that you are breathing in all the miseries of all the people in the world. All the darkness, all the negativity, all the hell that exists anywhere, you are breathing it in. And let it be absorbed in your heart.
You may have read or heard about the so-called positive thinkers of the West. They say just the opposite--they don't know what they are saying. They say, "When you breathe out, throw out all your misery and negativity; and when you breathe in, breathe in joy, positivity, happiness, cheerfulness." Atisha's method is just the opposite: when you breathe in, breathe in all the misery and suffering of all the beings of the world--past, present and future. And when you breathe out, breathe out all the joy that you have, all the blissfulness that you have, all the benediction that you have.
Breathe out, pour yourself into existence. This is the method of compassion: drink in all the suffering and pour out all the blessings. And you will be surprised if you do it. The moment you take all the sufferings of the world inside you, they are no longer sufferings. The heart immediately transforms the energy. The heart is a transforming force: drink in misery, and it is transformed into blissfulness... then pour it out. Once you have learned that your heart can do this magic, this miracle, you would like to do it again and again.
Try it. It is one of the most practical methods--simple, and it brings immediate results. Do it today, and see. That is one of the approaches of Buddha and all his disciples. Atisha is one of his disciples, in the same tradition, in the same line. Buddha says again and again to his disciples, "Ihi passiko--come and see!" They are very scientific people. Buddhism is the most scientific religion on the earth; hence, Buddhism is gaining more and more ground in the world every day.
As the world becomes more intelligent, Buddha will become more and more important. It is bound to be so. As more and more people come to know about science, Buddha will have great appeal. He will convince the scientific mind--because he says, "Whatsoever I am saying can be practiced. I don't say to you, 'Believe it,' I say, 'Experiment with it, experience it, and only then if you feel it yourself, trust it. Otherwise there is no need to believe.'"
Try this beautiful method of compassion: take in all the misery and pour out all the joy.
~Osho Transformational Cards~