The purpose of this meditation is to generate the feeling that we are firm friends with all sentient beings, and then to reflect on this feeling in light of the advantages of cherishing others.

I began with breathing meditation, calming my mind and letting it settle, before moving on to the main meditation topic.

I began by thinking about the recent handshake between Queen Elizabeth II and Martin McGuiness of Sinn Fein. The Troubles of Ireland have plagued both Ireland and the United Kingdom for many years. Over the centuries, both sides have committed atrocities which are almost unforgivable. In recent times, Martin McGuiness was convicted of a number of crimes related to terrorist activity and publicly supported the IRA, which has carried out many operations which have resulted in the death and injury of many people. The Queen is head of the Union (United Kingdom) and head of the Armed Forces, which have carried out many operations in Northern Ireland which have resulted in the death and injury of many people. To all intents and purposes, these two people have been the personification of opposing forces.

These two people recently shook hands and exchanged pleasantries. This clearly demonstrates how people can change from being enemies to being friends. We may identify others as friends, enemies or neutral, but there is nothing ‘from their side’ which makes this solid or permanent.

I thought about this point in meditation, and began to feel that regardless of their behaviour, we can rightly regard all other living beings as our firm friends. We may disagree with their actions at one time or another, and perhaps have to take action to protect ourselves or others, but all this can be done while at the same time regarding them as our firm friends.

I focused on the feeling of being a firm friend to all living beings, and a real sense of firmness between myself and others arose in my mind. I felt like there was a very firm link between myself and others that their mere transitory behaviour could not break. I focused on this feeling for a while.

I then thought about what this means in light of the advantages of cherishing others.

The starting point for cherishing others is to develop true equanimity towards those we incorrectly identify as friends, enemies and strangers. I felt like cherishing others was built on the foundation of equanimity, and the strength and integrity of my cherishing was entirely dependent on the strength and integrity of my equanimity. Therefore, I returned to my feeling of being a firm friend to all other living beings, and focused on it for the rest of the meditation.

Dedication

May all living beings find the strength and wisdom to regard each other as firm friends, and make the space in their hearts to generate true cherishing love for them, quickly following the path to enlightenment.

Practice in the Meditation Break

I will try to remember my feeling of being firm friends with all other living beings, and almost see the bond between us.