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Lions Roar : March 2017
HOT OFF THE PRESS it is romantic, familial, a friendship, what-have-you. 3. Sympathetic Joy The next quality of love in the Buddhist tradition is sympathetic joy. This means we don’t hold ourselves apart from the joy of others, in a similar way to how we don’t hide from other people’s suffer- ing. We take on both. Sometimes when we hear someone else’s good news we think of how that will affect us, instead of simply rejoicing in it. Sympathetic joy is us making our heart wide enough to not just be there when people are having a hard time, but being there for them to celebrate the good times too. 4. Equanimity My favorite translation of the Sanskrit word for equanimity, upeksha, is actu- ally “inclusiveness.” It means we remain openhearted not just when we’re hanging out with our good friends—we also do so whenweseeourexatabarorthatcol- league who really screwed us over at work. It means we include in our heart the people we like, the people we really don’t like, and the vast number of people we have never even met. The Zen teacher Thich Nhat Hanh has said, “When you love one per- son, it’s an opportunity for you to love everyone, all beings.” Making our heart that accom- modating—that is equanimity. Of course, the foundation of loving all beings starts with taking care of and loving yourself. As Pema Chödrön has said, “Unconditional good heart toward others is not even a possibility unless we attend to our own demons.” First we attend to our demons. Then we befriend our demons. Then we grow to love our demons. When we can truly love our demons, we grow LOVE HURTS Buddhist Advice for the Heartbroken by Lodro Rinzler Shambhala Publications; 184 pp., $12.95 (paper) to love all aspects of who we are. At some point in that process, we learn to see and attend to the demons of others. IF WE CAN CONTEMPLATE and incorporate these four qualities into our everyday life, then we will love in a meaning- ful and truly impactful way. Our love will not be attached to one person. It will flow freely and be available throughout our day; we will offer it to everyone we encounter. We will still get hurt at times, and our free-flowing love may not always be recip- rocated, but that’s a hell of a lot better than schlepping through our day closed off to everyone we meet. Heartbreak is a part of the experience of love and love is simply a part of who we are. I recom- mend we become familiar with both. ♦ LION’S ROAR | MARCH 2017 74