I close each of my yoga classes with an offering to all beings everywhere, that they may have happiness and be free from suffering. These two wishes are part of The Four Immeasurables, as described by Lord Buddha, which consist of loving-kindness, compassion, appreciative joy, and equanimity. We work with these four qualities so that we may cultivate wholesome attitudes towards all sentient beings.
Loving-kindness, the first immeasurable, is the wish that everyone, without exception, have happiness. Loving-kindness feels much the same as the sincere good wishes a mother feels toward her new-born infant–that he or she will enjoy good health, be intelligent and successful, and make good friends. This immeasurable counters ill-will.
Compassion, the second of the immeasurables, is the wish that everyone be free from suffering. When we witness suffering by those close to us, family, friends, even a pet, we experience the ordinary quality of compassion. To reach the sublime level of compassion, is to extend it out to all sentient beings in all realms of existence. This immeasurable counters cruelty.
My wish, as we navigate our post-election world, is that we remind ourselves on a daily basis to connect with loving-kindness and compassion.
See you on the mat!
THE FOUR IMMEASURABLES
May all beings have happiness and the causes of happiness.
May all beings be free from suffering and the causes of suffering.
May all beings never be separated from the happiness that knows no suffering.
May all beings live in equanimity, free from attachment and aversion.
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