As a Friend
Meditation — cultivating closeness
By seeing that people suffer and thinking of them as dear, you develop
compassion. So after meditatively transforming your attitude toward
friends, enemies, and neutral persons such that you are becoming even-minded
toward all of them, the next step is to meditate on everyone as friends,
to feel that they have been profoundly close.
In meditation, take individual persons to mind, starting
with your friends. Reflect on how close your best friend
is — recognize your attitude, for example, when your
friend needs your concern, like when she's ill. This is
an appeal to common experience, to how we already naturally
react to close friends. Then, in meditation, extend this
feeling to more beings.
To consider ourselves dear we usually do not have to enter into meditation.
We cherish ourselves greatly. When we see ourselves suffering, we have
no problem in wishing to escape that suffering. The problem lies in
not cherishing others. The ability to cherish others has to be cultivated.
Visualize someone you like very much
and then superimpose the image of someone toward
whom you are neutral. Alternate between the two images
until you value the person toward whom you are neutral
as much as the friend.
Then superimpose in succession the
images of a number of people toward whom you are neutral,
until you value each of them as much as the greatest
When you have developed facility with those
two steps, it will be possible to extend the meditation
Another approach, which doesn't rely on rebirth, is
recognizing that we're all equal in wanting happiness and not wanting
suffering. And if it's worthwhile for me to gain happiness, then it's
worthwhile for everyone else to gain happiness. Noticing this similarity
makes us close.