FROM MY TEACHER, JOSEPH LE PAGE.
I try to live my life in accordance with this sutra.
Sutra 1.33 Commentary: The Four Immeasurable Qualities
(In everyday living, we should) cultivate maitri (loving kindness), karuna (compassion), mudita (innate joy) and upeksha (equanimity) in relation to pleasure and pain, good and evil.
Commentary by Joseph Le Page:
The practice of Samadhi extends beyond seated meditation and encompasses all of our activities; for it is not restricted by time or place; it is union with our true being, whose essential nature is limitless freedom.
But, this moment-to moment samadhi needs to be tested in our activities, with all their challenges and difficulties, and these four qualities are the essential guide for “holding the pose of Yoga” in daily living.
Maitri, loving kindness is living with an open heart, it is the intention to maintain a positive attitude so that our every thought, word and deed benefits all beings and serves as a catalyst for awakening.
Maitri is also remembering that when negativity arises within us or in our surroundings, it is only a reflection of limiting conditioning, allowing us to witness it, while holding a space of positive energy.
Karuna, compassion is releasing the tendency to make our own needs and beliefs our main priority, allowing us to see and feel what others are feeling with greater clarity and objectivity.
This clarity allows us to see our similarities; all of us trying to find happiness and avoid suffering to the best of our ability given the limitations imposed by our conditioning and level of understanding.
Through awakening compassion, we sense the pain experienced by all beings as well as the depth of our own suffering, but we also acknowledge how much pain has been released along the spiritual journey.
Clearly seeing the nature of suffering and its solution through spiritual awakening, we pledge our life energy to support all beings along the journey while respecting each person’s limits and true needs.
Mudita is joy that bubbles up like a spring from within our own being as a reflection of our ongoing connection to our true Self, inherently whole and complete, one with the source energy.
Attuned to this inner spring, we recognize that any negativity that arises is a reflection of conditioning, allowing our own inner joy to serve as an antidote for anger, resentment, greed, fear or jealousy.
Innate joy reminds us that we are that which we seek, and free from the need to look to the world for that which could make us happy, we live moment-to-moment in deep appreciation for all life brings.
Upeksha is sometimes translated as indifference, but neutrality and equanimity bring us much closer to the heart of its meaning, for it is seeing clearly that life’s ups and downs never touch our true being.
Centered in our inner being, we witness pleasure and pain, good and evil and our own reactivity while remaining calm and serene, recognizing that every interaction is an opportunity for awakening.
This neutrality is not inactivity, but just the contrary; by not getting dragged down into conflict and emotional reactivity we have more energy and clarity for service to the greater community.
As we practice these four immeasurables, obstacles are removed naturally, allowing us to enter into Samadhi easily, which in turn deepens our ability to integrate these qualities in daily living.