Understanding these Qualities of the Heart

This course takes a fresh look at the brahma-viharas. Let's learn a little more about this new approach.

"We will examine the potential that these qualities offer to be pathways of awakening, pathways of insight."

How the Brahma-viharas Function as Pathways of Insight

Metta

With the cultivation of metta we are learning to meet the power, forces, and compulsions of ill will. We cultivate an attitude, an inclination of mind, in the midst of those sensations of ill will, as a way of making our home not in compulsion but in the conscious intention of befriending. 

Joy

With the cultivation of joy or a joyfulness, we're learning to meet the compulsions of craving. The beliefs in insufficiency. And the negative attentional bias of the mind that tends to focus on what is broken and what is flawed. And joyfulness, too, is cultivated in the midst of all of those moments of craving, of bleakness, of a sense of deficit, and a contractedness of mind that only sees what is imperfect. 

Compassion

With the cultivation of compassion as a path of insight, we are learning to meet the actuality of dukkha: suffering. To look it in the eye, to be able to say, "I know you." And to not be overwhelmed. To really examine our relationship to life as it is. Are we prone to abandon? Or are we prone to embrace?

Equanimity

With the cultivation of equanimity, in the midst of all of the moments of being knocked off balance in our life, we're learning to stand in this life amidst all the changes, all the uncertainties, all the patterns of selfing. We're learning to develop a quality of poise and to see the nonself nature of all phenomena. We will examine the ways that equanimity, or upekkha, is used interchangeably with the word "nirvana" (awakening) in the Buddha's teaching.