Tempel Smith spent a year ordained as a monk in Burma and teaches Buddhist psychology and social activism in the San Francisco Bay Area. He is currently part of the IMS/Spirit Rock Teacher Training Program.
Taking the most wisdom to access, the Equanimity Brahma Vihara practice gets is strength from a brave willingness to intimately see all truths. If we suspend out preferences for health and happiness, and away from pain and sorrow, we can bring our loving hearts in direct contact with what we see if true. Life is an ever changing and uncontrollable mix of gain and loss, pleasure and pain, and praise and blame. When we can rest in Equanimity Brahma Vihara we can hold all truths at the same time in one space of heart.
We have never met most of the living beings on our planet (and beyond), and many we have met we don’t know all that well. As we expand our loving kindness practice to include all beings we have to consciously learn how to actively care for those we don’t know well. Rather than having the typical challenge of reactivity, this group of beings is hard to love precisely because we don’t know them well. If we have learned to care for a larger group of friends and community members, then this next larger group is more accessible.
After learning to develop a kind and patient awareness of our breath and body, we have the basis to begin the traditional Loving Kindness meditation practice of repeating phrases of kindness towards our most easy being for whom we care.
To practice the divine abode of equanimity, we begin by reflecting on the need to be intimate with what is really happening. With this strength of heart we can soften our preferences and the fantasies they produce in order to bring out heart in steady contact with all unfolding phenomena.
There are two larger categories of meditation: samatha meditations and vipassana meditations. Samatha meditations are intended to calm, unify, balance and develop strengths of the heart, and vipassana meditations lead toward insight into our patterns of suffering, confusion, clarity and freedom. The samatha meditations can develop to the point where we are fully absorbed into our meditation subject. This talk describes this process.
A guided practice for letting go of specific objects or sense doors to practice open or choiceless awareness. For some people this is a more natural way of practicing. The intent is to become mindful of one’s mental activity as it is drawn to different experiences arising at any of the six sense doors. From this practice you can gain insight into how the mind works and find freedom no matter what the experience.