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Meditation on altruistic love -1

By Matthieu Ricard on December 16, 2013

To cultivate altruistic love, we must first become fully aware of our own desire to be free from suffering and to experience well-being. This step is especially important for those who have a negative image of themselves or have suffered so much that they feel that they are not made for happiness. We must thus generate warm, tolerant and benevolent attitude towards ourselves and resolve to achieve what is truly good for ourselves.

Once we have recognized this aspiration, we must recognize that it is shared by all beings. We must recognize our common humanity and become aware of our interdependence.

Let us first focus our meditation on a loved one

It is easier to begin to train ourselves to altruistic love thinking about someone who is very dear to us. We may imagine a young child, who comes towards us, smiling, full of innocence. We then let flow toward him unconditional love, tenderness and care, wishing him all the goodness that can be: ‟may he be safe, healthy and flourish in life”. Let's nourish this love and let it fill our mental landscape.

Extend your meditation

Then extend this benevolent love beyond your loved ones to strangers. They also want to be happy, even if, like us, they are often confused about the ways to elude suffering. Finally, extend your benevolence those who wronged you and to those who cause harm to others. This does not mean that we want them to succeed in their malicious endeavors. Rather it is wishing deeply that the hatred, cruelty, greed or indifference that inhabits their mind may subside. Look at them as a physician would treat someone with a grave mental illness.

Finally, embrace all sentient beings, human and animals with boundless love.