The Four Radiant Abodes
The most treasured description of optimal mental health is the Four Radiant Abodes. These four radiant abodes are: loving-kindness, compassion, joy and equanimity or peace. These abodes are treasured because they are exquisitely simple, the universal expression of an open heart. Even hearing their names: Love, Compassion, Joy, Peace – they touch us directly. When we meet another who is filled with these qualities our heart lights up. When we touch peace, love, joy and compassion in ourselves, we are transformed.
When developed, these qualities help to balance one another. Because love, compassion and joy can lead to excessive attachment, they need to be balanced with equanimity. Because equanimity can lead to excessive detachment, it needs to be balanced with love, compassion and joy. Together, they express optimal mental harmony.
At rest, consciousness is peaceful and open. This is natural equanimity. When our peaceful heart meets other beings it fills with love. When this love meets pain, it becomes compassion. When love meets happiness, it becomes joy.
This excerpt is taken from the book, “The Wise Heart“