This slogan suggests that we breathe out that which we want and breathe in that which we do not want. This is opposite to what many who meditate do. The idea, though, is to create more loving-kindness in the world and toward those for whom we care deeply. It allows us to connect with people that we don’t necessarily see regularly.
The Tibetan tradition of Tonglen, which is the idea behind this slogan, asks that we extend this loving-kindness not only to those for whom we feel love, but also to those who we may dislike or who we find irritating and continue on from there. I wrote about this in a blog post entitled loving- kindness.
This slogan also helps us to practice detachment as we let go of those things that we want- in this case, love, kindness, peace, etc- and invite into our lives that which we do not want. This exchange of energy produces more loving energy and the mere fact that we willingly invite sickness, pain and such things into our lives for the benefit of another is transformative. We don’t end up owning these feelings or this energy; we change it into love by the invitation itself.
Remember, too, that sending and taking should be practiced alternately; we must at times receive loving-kindness as well.