The Four Immeasurable Minds

“Love is the capacity to take care, to protect, to nourish.
If you are not capable of generating that kind of energy
toward yourself – if you are not capable of taking care of yourself,
of nourishing yourself, of protecting yourself – it is very difficult
to take care of another person. In the Buddhist teaching,
it’s clear that to love oneself is the foundation
of the love of other people. Love is a practice.”
– Thich Nhat Hanh

The Four Immeasurable Minds are the four elements of true love: loving-kindness, compassion, joy, and equanimity. This meditation is a practice of non-self: the reality that everything we are comes from somewhere else and that we are interdependent with everything else in the universe. When we practice the Four Immeasurable Minds we practice watering positive seeds in our store consciousness, which helps them to grow stronger.

What follows is a definition of each of these qualities, as well as a definition of what it is not.

Type of Love Definition Is Not
Loving-Kindness The intention and capacity to offer joy and happiness to oneself and others Attachment
Compassion The intention and capacity to relieve and transform suffering and lighten sorrows for ourselves and others Pity
Joy Well-being and gratitude in the here and now in the mind, and allowing other people’s happiness to bring us joy. Comparison
Equanimity Non-attachment, non-discrimination, non-judgement, letting go, loving all equally, giving yourself/others space (to be yourself, to make mistakes, to experiment, to relax) Indifference,

Non-discernment

 

The “Is Not” column are feelings that arise out of separation(belief in an independent self) and fear.

There are multiple ways to practice this while in meditation, follow the links below to find out more:

  1. Pre-packaged verses
  2. Pre-packaged Freestyle
  3. Freestyle
  4. Freestyle in a group