Four qualities of love

Loving kindness, compassion, joy, equanimity


LOVING KINDNESS

Offering joy and happiness. It is finding happiness where it is already readily available all around us

You make yourself happy. You make each other happy. And do it lightly, kind to both yourself and them alike.

“The intention is that the person be happy, peaceful, content, light in body and spirit, safe and free from injury, feel loved, and feel connected. Having the capacity means you understand someone and have the skill to actually bring them joy and happiness. Loving-kindness is not attachment. Attachment is a way of using someone else to manage our own emotions. Attachment causes us to try to control others so that we or they will never feel suffering. True loving-kindness does not try to control.”

COMPASSION

The intention and capacity to relieve and transform suffering and lighten sorrows.

Compassion contains deep concern. You know the other person is suffering, so you listen deeply.

“The intention is to bring freedom from all forms of suffering — freedom from anger, fear, despair, hatred, confusion, worry, anxiety, and all unwholesome mental formations. Compassion is not pity. Pity involves a feeling of superiority to others. The reality is that we are deeply connected with others and compassion involves an understanding of that.”

Compassion is touch and connection from the heart.

JOY

Well-being, gratitude, peace, and contentment in the mind in the here and now.

Presence is perhaps the most important element of joy — rather than the enjoyment itself. The focus is “dwelling happily in the present moment” without clinging to the past or rushing for the future.

True love always brings joy to ourselves and to the one we love. If our love does not bring joy to both of us, it is not true love. Joy is not comparative. We all share joy.

It is the appreciation and delight of all life’s tiny pleasures — in the moment they are offered. And it is experiencing them fully together.

EQUANIMITY

Nonattachment, nondiscrimination, even- mindedness, or letting go.

“If your love has attachment, discrimination, prejudice, or clinging in it, it is not true love.’”

People sometimes mistake equanimity as “indifference,” but true equanimity is neither cold nor indifferent. It does not mean that you don’t love. On the contrary, offering equanimity means that you are.

Without equanimity, your love may become possessive. If you imprison your beloved in a tin can, he will die.

“Yet many people do just that. They rob their loved one of his liberty, until he can no longer be himself. They live to satisfy themselves and use their loved one to help them fulfill that. That is not loving; it is destroying.”

True love allows you to preserve your freedom — and the freedom of your beloved.

“Freedom from the reactivity created by pride, ignorance, hatred, desire, and jealousy endows an ease of intimacy with our own feelings as well as those of others, and we can live our own stories even while engaging with theirs. No longer dividing the world into good and bad, love and hate, we not only have more freedom and ease in daily life; we also gain access to the wisdom of our real nature.”

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