The purpose of this meditation is to generate the very strong wish for all living beings to be free from their suffering, and then to meditate on this wish in the light of equanimity.
I began by performing breathing meditation, watching my breath enter and leave my throat and nose, slowly becoming more and more absorbed into the breath until my mind was quite still.
I then thought about how all living beings suffer. I imagined my mother and father with me, surrounded by all the other living beings in samsara. They all suffer. The are confused about the causes of their suffering so in their efforts to avoid it, they only cause more. I thought of a mother saying goodbye to her child, as happened often in the past. Before the coming of Facebook, when a child left the parental home to emigrate, that would be the last time they every saw their parents. I imagined the mothers feelings, parting from her dear child, knowing that she would never see them again, nor know what they were doing – if they were happy or sad. The torment and sadness filled me.
Then I thought of how the suffering of this situation is just one example of the continuous stream of suffering endured by all living beings. It was like a curtain was drawn back to reveal an entire landscape of suffering extending to the horizon. (in fact is was rather dramatic – like in the films, with swelling music and everything). It struck me deeply, how every moment of every living beings life, life after life, is pervaded by suffering. The sense of feeling their sadness and suffering increase a hundredfold.
Then I thought of my love for all living beings, and my wish to work for their happiness. Their happiness and freedom are important to me, and I want to abandon my self-cherishing and cherish only them.
This thought helped me avoid my feelings of sadness, because there is hope for them. There is a way they can all be free, because of my love for them. I developed a very strong wish for them all to find freedom from suffering. I had the thought ‘This has got to stop! – This cannot go on!’ I felt the words in my heart, and developed the very strong wish for all living beings to be free from permanently suffering.
I remained with this feeling for a while until it was time to move on.
I then thought about what this means in the light of equanimity – the warm and friendly attitude that I must adopt in recognition of the illogical habit I have of believing the mental projections I have of others. The feeling of equanimity underlies my compassionate wish. My love for others is the way I can be sure that they will eventually be free, and I saw it feeding into my compassion and giving it balance and hope. I stayed with this feeling for the rest of the meditation.
May all living beings develop sincere compassion, and with this compassionate mind, quickly attain true peace for the benefit of all.
Practice in the Meditation Break
I will try to directly alleviate the suffering of those around me by whatever skilful means I can identify, and strengthen my compassion by making a special mental note when I see news stories of people suffering loss or pain.