Being in love, attracting the perfect partner or enhancing the relationship we are in is a major concern of our times. Being in a relationship tends to imply that we belong, that we are not alone in the world, yet relationships and any kind of partnerships are complicated. It is so because we each come to this joint venture with our personal love filters. However, the fourth aspect of the Brahmaviharas or the Four Immeasurable qualities of being teaches that we need no filters to loving other than equanimity or Upeksha in Sanskrit.
Upeksha translates as “to look over”, meaning that you choose to see life situations, events and people with the long view, as if you have climbed a mountain and are able to take in the whole scene from this vantage point. The sky above and the earth below are unbounded. The trees, the vegetation and the fauna’s dimension from that view are equalized. Details are less important. It is hard to discriminate or cling to minutia from the top. It doesn’t make you indifferent. It allows you to see with the freshness and curiosity we call equanimity.
Equanimity is also a quality we assign to ourselves. It means that we do not discriminate and deem us or the other as good or bad, ugly or beautiful, aggressor or victim. These are some of the filters we grew up with and take on as beliefs. When we see ourselves as the ones who do all the work in the relationship, and the other as the taker, we create a duality and take on an incorrect perception of reality. In reality, we inter-are. As such, each person in the relationship plays a crucial role in our human and spiritual journey. When we see with our binoculars, we cannot be curious; we cannot have the long view. Upeksha also implies that we examine our desire to be possessive or get attached to a relationship. When we feel that without this person we cannot live, or allow the relationship to determine our love quotient, we are not on top of that mountain.
Being on top of the mountain means that we are not better or worse that anyone; we are a tiny spec of the shared Universe. We are never alone or unloved. We can only feel unloved. Conversely, as hard as can be to forgive others for how they behaved, it is good to remember that they too are a tiny spec and that without that spec; our lives would not be this one. We are all in this together. We are all inside the heart of the world. And we are never alone.
Only when we take care of ourselves and follow our heart’s calling, we are fully supported by the heart of the world. As in this painting called The Heart Is Open, a mixed media on paper, when our heart is open, we find what we seek; other inter-beings with open hearts with who we can be in true love. Being in love, according to Buddhism, is not a quality that occurs in a marriage only. It is the quality of understanding ourselves, of loving ourselves, of noticing the joyous landscape we call life, and of seeing other’s weaknesses with the same compassion we treat our own shortcomings. Unable to embrace these virtues, we attract only what we need. Need is a poor filter for love.
Embodying the Four Immeasurable virtues we know that we “belong”. Belonging allows us to become accepting and curious about whoever we are in partnership with every time. It can be a lover, a child, a parent, a sibling, a friend, or a neighbor. It can be someone you meet at the airport, or at a business meeting. It can be anyone. Understanding and living the teachings of the Brahmaviharas, we are able to celebrate the rainbows, the sunrises and sunsets, the rain, the snow, the droughts and the blessings and riches of being spirits having a fantastic human experience. Won’t you join me in being in a love-infused state way beyond Valentine’s Day?
The Heart is Open is a great aid to contemplate and understand The Four Immeasurables. It is a 12” x 14” piece available for purchase by clicking Valentine!