Meditating on Love

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Meditation — intention, the second degree of love

In the first degree you imagined a person and then thought: "How nice it would be if this person had happiness and the causes of happiness!"

The next degree of love is stronger because it takes the form of an intention: "May this person have happiness and the causes of happiness!" It is more active because it projects your wishes into the midst of the workings of the world.

In the same way as the first-level meditation, imagine your best friend and think: "May this person have happiness and the causes of happiness!" After your best friend, bring to mind lesser friends, then neutral persons, then lesser enemies, and finally greater enemies.

Do not practice this second level merely as a rote repetition of the first with a slight change of words. An analytical meditation is needed, reflecting again on your similarity with the other person (equanimity), how the person has helped you over the course of lifetimes or through providing helpful services in society (reflecting on kindness), and how you should reciprocate that kindness (developing an intention to return kindness).

You heighten your mental state so that the wish has particular force. Once that force has been achieved, remain with that attitude in meditation—feeling it, letting it permeate your consciousness. Do not immediately move on to the next step. This is called stabilizing meditation because you are stabilizing in the state that has been produced. Stay with the state of stabilizing meditation, and as soon as it weakens, return to analytical meditation to restore and intensify it, and then switch back to stabilizing meditation. This is how to gain and retain the impact of meditative insight.

Meditation — commitment, the third degree of love

In meditation, practice the third level of love: "I will cause this person to have happiness and the causes of happiness." As before, begin with your best friend, then lesser friends, passing on to neutral persons, then lesser enemies, and finally considering greater enemies.

Use all the techniques that you have developed in the practice of meditation. This time you commit yourself to bringing about the happiness of others, no matter how many eons it might take.