The things that really drive us nuts have enormous energy in them. That is why we fear them. It could even be your own timidity: you are so timid that you are afraid to walk up and say hello to someone, afraid to look someone in the eye. It takes a lot of energy to maintain that. It’s the way you keep yourself together. In tonglen practice, you have the chance to own that completely, not blaming anybody, and to ventilate it with the outbreath. Then you might better understand why some other people in the room look so grim: it isn’t because they hate you but because they feel the same kind of timidity and don’t want to look anyone in the face. In this way, the tonglen practice is both a practice of making friends with yourself and a practice of compassion.
From Start Where You Are: A Guide to Compassionate Living by Pema Chödrön, pages 56–57