The purpose of this meditation is to develop a strong feeling of equanimity towards all living beings, and then to contemplate this feeling in the light of renunciation – the wish to be free from samara completely.

I began the meditation by recalling Geshe Kelsang’s instructions from The New Meditation Handbook. He observes that although someone might appear pleasant to me, they may also appear as unpleasant to others. Given this contradiction, how can I be certain that it is right to relate to people as intrinsically pleasant when they do not appear in that manner to others?

In fact it is my mistaken projections I am relating to when I identify people as pleasant or unpleasant. They do not have these characteristics from their own side – it is my projection I see and relate to.

Geshe Kelsang’s proposal is to relate to people in a consistent manner, with a warm and friendly attitude of equanimity. I thought about this deeply and realised that I have a very uneven attitude to others. I unconsciously ‘name’ people as ‘very pleasant’, ‘quite pleasant’ and so on all the way through to ‘very unpleasant’. Then I develop attachment or aversion to them, and act in all kinds of non-virtuous ways.

How much more simple and satisfying to always maintain a warm and friendly feeling towards everyone I meet?

I imagined drawing back my mistaken projections into my heart and seeing people with a basic attitude of warmth and friendliness. What a blissful life to lead! I let the feeling fill my mind and I stayed with it for a while.

I then thought about what this feeling means in the light of renunciation – the wish to be completely free from all samsaric suffering.

What keeps me in samsara? Non-virtuous actions, which are the paths that lead to further samsaric suffering. The subject of most of my non-virtuous actions is other living beings, so if I can develop equanimity, I will be reducing the amount of non-virtuous actions I create, and moving towards the aim of being free from suffering altogether.  With this understanding, I returned to my meditation on equanimity, and let my mind fill with warmth and friendliness for all living beings.

Dedication

May all living beings develop the stable mind of equanimity and develop the sublime minds of universal love and compassion, and bodhichitta, and quickly become Buddhas for the benefit of all.

Practice in the Meditation Break

I will remember that my attitude towards everyone who appears to me is mistaken, and in actual fact their appearance is my own projection. I will try to mentally draw back my projection and treat everyone with warmth and friendliness.