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. A version of tonglen on the spot, it is also a method for enhancing our ability to rejoice.
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.
Even the simplest of things can be the basis of this practice—a beautiful morning, a good meal, a shower. Although there are many such fleeting ordinary moments n our days, we usually speed right past them. We forget what joy they can bring. So the first step is to stop, notice, and appreciate what is happening. Even if this is all we do, it’s revolutionary. Then we think of someone who is suffering and wish that the person could have this pleasure to sweeten up his or her life.