It is ultimately the fear of suffering more than any experience of suffering itself that damages us. Most of us live our lives by seeking pleasure and avoiding suffering. Pleasure is temporary and suffering is temporary. Both are tools that can be used for greater understanding...the difficulty for most of us is having the courage to explore the shadow with as much tenacity as we do the light. To continue to care and have compassion for those around us in the face of fear, anger, jealousy, addiction, arrogance, selfishness, etc. means that we have begun the process of accepting these qualities within ourselves. It means that we have learned to see beyond the chaotic surface of the water into the deeper calmer depths...into our shared humanity. In tonglen practice we learn to connect with the universal quality of suffering and then we practice relaxing the constricted quality it produces within us - we practice creating space for ourselves and others to breath.