39a | CR Book XI, Chapter 7

Chapter 7 - The Unlimited

Meditation on the four "Unlimited" reduces the boun-
dary lines between me and outside objects. It helps us
to form the habit of treating as alike our self and
that of other persons, - be they very dear, indifferent
or hostile. Breaking down the barriers between them, we
train ourselves to treat them all as emotionally equal,
- in equal friendliness, compassion with their woe, and
joyous sympathy with their joys. Indefatigably one
cultivates the ability to call forth friendliness at
will, - desiring the welfare of beings, and looking
through to their lovable traits which shine through
when we think and wish away those factors which make
people appear as nasty. One dwells radiating mettā to
a few at first. The field of one's affectionate thoughts
is then methodically widened. after access and jhāna
are achieved, in the end one sends good will throughout
the entire universe in all the four quarters. Friendly
thoughts touch all. They extend to an unlimited field
of numberless beings, breaking down all barriers of
distance, tribal, conceit, fear and aversion, and of perso-
nal predilictions. They decreasingly make use of the
distinction that the other person is another. In
strenuous struggles the obstacles to the free flow of
mettā are removed: Agressive impulses are dispelled as
soon as they arise, by reflections, self-admonition,
and deliberate acts of kindness. Any untoward happening
is treated as welcome opportunity to practice patience,
and to stop self-willed murmuring against events. When
the narcissistic associations of this my body are kill-
ed out (cf. XII/1), I lose some of my preoccupation with
myself which makes for indifference to others, and appea-
se the dislike for myself which is so easily carried
over to others.

As these exercises are repeated, friendliness becomes
vast, undivided, more and more impersonal. Though it cea-
ses to be confined, narrow-minded, exclusive, it loses none
of its intensity through being diffused over a field
that knows no boundaries. The same with compassion.
As concealed & obvious suffering, and the suffering
persons are equalised, as the weary indifference ge-
nerated by the very number of sufferers is overcome,
and as compassion loses its limits, it is purified of
the fear for oneself. It loses more & more its reference
to particular persons, slowly, step by step, as: I might
be forced to suffer this, too. I wish to relieve it.
I relieve it, although I thereby suffer myself. I am