8 August 2016

Brahma Viharas

Developing emotional wisdom and opening the heart to reality


Sometimes we pay a high price for caring deeply for others and the world and can lose ourselves in nihilistic despair. Emotional wisdom is the capacity to care without getting stuck in painful dead ends. It enables us to feel compassion even if we cannot directly help. And if we start going down the emotional gurgler it helps us tune into the beauty, love and strength in ourselves and others. In our current Dharma night theme we are exploring how to become more loving, compassionate and emotionally flexible.

Four great catalysts of emotional wisdom
In this first talk in our current series Ratnavyuha spoke on cultivating emotional wisdom, gestures of the heart, moving past indifference to caring, caring and letting go of what you cannot control and seeing the beauty in ourselves and others.

Metta - moving past indifference to caring
Also known as universal loving kindness metta is a recognition of the most basic solidarity that we have with others. It is the sharing of a common aspiration for ourselves and all beings to find fulfillment and escape suffering. On this evening Ratnavyuha and Helen Clack shared their thoughts on metta.

Karuna, caring and letting go of what you cannot control
Karuna (compassion) is the loving desire that all beings, including ourselves, be free from suffering and that we be well, happy and fulfilled. Karuna is also the desire to actively remove suffering whilst also learning to accept the reality of suffering without turning away. On this evening Ratnavyuha and Mary Anna Smith shared their thoughts on karuna.

Mudita, seeing the beauty in ourselves and others
Mudita means joy - especially sympathetic or vicarious joy or the pleasure that comes from delighting in another persons well-being. When we can be happy for the joys other beings feel unadulterated by self interest. On this evening Ratnavyuha and Muditanandi shared their understanding on what this means.

Upekkha, opening to the heart of reality
Upekkha is one of the four brahmaviharas which are purifying mental states capable of counteracting greed, aversion and ignorance. To practice true upekkha is to be unwavering or to stay neutral in the face of the eight worldly winds which are gain and loss, pleasure and pain, fame and infamy, and praise and blame. Guhyasiddhi will be talking about Upekkha on this evening.