A Bite of Buddhism
The four sublime mental states are qualities of mind that we cultivate in order to alleviate the suffering we experience in everyday life and to feel more connected to others—and the worries and fears we all share. In the language of the Buddha (Pali), they are called the brahma viharas , which means "the dwelling place of awakened beings." The good news for us unawakened beings is that it's easy to begin cultivating the brahma viharas . Indeed, they are an integral part of other religious, spiritual, and humanistic traditions. I present them here with a distinctly Buddhist "flavor." Metta . I like to think of metta as the simple act of well-wishing. Sylvia once said that she practices metta by just looking at a person and silently saying, "I love you." Karuna . The Vietnamese Zen master, Thich Nhat Hanh, helped me learn to cultivate compassion for myself. Mudita . Just as metta is an antidote for our judgmental tendencies, mudita is the perfect antidote for envy. Upekkha .