While I was very aware of the pain, and understood the pain, I did not feel it in any way, and so I was not able to adjust my interaction, my comments, to reflect that pain. To correct this, I had a few months previously meditated on seeing that person as myself, and I connected with his inner child and felt the pain deeply.
But somehow that experience did not translate to my changing my interaction. Instead, I continued to respond with equanimity, with dispassion, with a distance. The point is not that I should respond with emotion. The point is that I should be sensitive to his pain and adjust my comments in an appropriate way. That is what would result from a true practice of tonglen. That would be an exercise of compassion.
And so I have practiced tonglen again and am aware that compassion does not mean just saying “aw” to his pain, but to change my interaction, my comments, in a way that is reflective of my feeling of his pain.