We devote a considerable amount of time cultivating the art of presence as meditators. We acquire the knowledge to utterly understand the inner workings of our minds without getting entangled in judging or controlling whatever occurs in our mental stream. We begin to utilize our mindful steadiness to study and examine our minds in a straightforward manner.
However, that is just the tip of the iceberg.
While meditation is certainly helpful in and of itself, it truly comes into its own when we can use the characteristics we have cultivated on the mattress to improve and enrich our interaction with people around us. This is when the Four Immeasurables enter the picture.
They are the four strong characteristics of a wise and open heart — the ultimate expression of meditation in a relationship. Moreover, they are traits that anyone with a steadfastly loving heart may cultivate.
The phrase is derived from Buddhism, where the Four Immeasurables are portrayed as the four majestic or honorable characteristics of the enlightened.
The following are the four immeasurable characteristics:
- Lovingkindness: kindness and sociability towards others
- Compassion: the urge to alleviate the pain of others
- Sympathetic Joy: delighting in the pleasure and well-being of others
- Equanimity: experiencing boundless kindness toward all species
4 Strong Characteristics of a Wise and Loving Heart
1. Loving kindness
Generally, lovingkindness is one of those characteristics described best by genuine friendliness towards anyone: our greatest wish is to ensure that they are joyful, protected, and pleased. This mindset comes naturally to most of us under the appropriate conditions.
However, our capacity to exhibit our warm-hearted nature is frequently hampered by other, competing inclinations. We wish people to be delighted but our pleasure undeniably comes first. It is important to note that in our desire to make people happy, there are still limitations. Is it really necessary to set limits?
How do we come to realize that the heart is, in reality, limitless?
For starters, our practice allows us to gain awareness of the mind’s vast, limitless nature. Second, there are specialized techniques, such as metta or lovingkindness meditation, that bring us directly to a sense of the limitless heart’s magnificence.
The second of the 4 characteristics is compassion. Compassion continues where lovingkindness ends.
Acknowledging that every creature encounters difficulty anxiety, and misery at some time in their life, we create a desire to be able to remove all impediments to their pleasure. We all want to be able to alleviate the agony and anguish of people dear to us and whose predicament has a profound impact on us.
When we can truly employ this intention to everyone, it becomes boundless or limitless, and this requires practice.
Furthermore, meditation is helpful as a foundation for obtaining awareness of our own preferences, dislikes, demands, and difficulties. We learn to respond to hardship with less resistance through meditation.
Specific techniques, such as tonglen and karuna, or compassion, meditation, provide us with strong tools for acknowledging and accepting emotional turmoil that of our own and those of others and transforming it into the limitless, loving heart.
3. Sympathetic Joy
Experiencing delightfulness for others when things are going well for them is referred to as sympathetic or appreciative joy. All too frequently, the good fortune of others elicits a reaction of competition or criticism. We celebrate with sympathetic delight when wonderful things happen to everyone else, particularly when they are cultivating the seeds of future happiness.
We discover when we meditate that we do not have to evaluate or expound on the ideas and emotions that come throughout our practice and in our daily life. What we do with our responses is entirely up to us.
When we utilize this knowledge to exult in the joys and good fortune of everyone, including friends, adversaries, and those we would normally neglect, we discover that there is no limitation to the enjoyment we may feel: this is unfathomable joy. And this is the 3rd of the 4 characteristics of a wise and loving heart.
In meditation, equanimity is defined as impartiality: recognize a happy idea or feeling and let it go.
Recognize and let rid of any undesirable thoughts or emotions. We are willing to deal with whatever comes our way on a fair and unbiased basis, and that is proof of mindfulness.
In the context of, a relationship we employ this capacity to accept a wide range of experiences so that hardly anything or no nobody is left out. This is the calm of a wise and honest heart.
Equanimity, which is present in the other three Immeasurables, requires no introduction. It is just caring for and for all beings with a gentle, loving heart. According to Lama Jampa Thaye, equanimity may be the greatest approach to start engaging with the Four Immeasurables. He describes the four as “like a wheel where one drives another forward.”
Instead of viewing the Four Immeasurables as an impossible goal, we may utilize them as an exercise in relationships. Vinny Ferraro, a mind trainer, refers to them as The Four Heart Practices. He connects the four characteristics of loving-kindness, compassion, joy, and equanimity to the four chambers of the heart in his piece Opening the Heart to Love.
How about you? Do you possess any of these 4 characteristics, and if so, what do you do to share them with the people you love and care about? Feel free to share away in the comments bellow.