The purpose of this meditation is to overcome our biased view of others – our view that pidgeonholes people as either friends, enemies or strangers.

I began by making the appropriate preparations for meditation and then started thinking about the various people I know. Most I would classify as friends. Some are obstructive and could be called enemies. Everyone else is a stranger to me. I naturally feel attraction to my friends and aversion to my enemies. When I am with them, or even when I am not with them but thinking about them, my mind is pulled and pushed by their classification. Strangers do not move me at all, and I feel indifference towards them.

friendsThese feelings of attachment, aversion and indifference are the principal obstacle to those who wish to develop bodhichitta – the wish to attain enlightenment for the benefit of all living beings. In order to develop bodhichitta we need to train in feeling warmth and friendliness towards all living beings.

We begin this process by contemplating the validity of our classifications of friend, enemy and stranger. We can challenge the absoluteness of these classifications: friends become enemies sometimes, and enemies become friends sometimes. And both can become strangers after a while, and strangers can become our friends or our enemies. These classifications are not an inherent part of the person we are thinking about – they are labels that we ourselves have placed on people.

If we want to relate to the person themselves, rather than some label we have given them, what shall we relate to? Clearly our mistaken view that they are friends, enemies and strangers is of no real validity. Instead we should consider what would be most beneficial to them and to ourselves. What would be the most advantageous attitude to adopt?

We should decide to regard all living beings, regardless of their appearance, with a warm and friendly attitude. This is the most beneficial attitude to have, and we should adopt it without hesitation.

I went thought the logic a few times until I felt a warm and friendly feeling develop towards all living beings, and when it was strong, I focused on it.

Dedication

May all living beings practice equanimity towards each other, and begin the spiritual journey to bodhichitta.

Practice in the Meditation Break

I will try to remember my determination, and regard all living beings with warmth and friendliness.