When this love meets pain, it transforms itself naturally into compassion.
But the most treasured description of human awakening, what we in the West might call optimal mental health, is the Four Radiant Abodes.
These Four Radiant Abodes are:
1- Loving-kindness or friendliness
2- Compassion and caring
3- Joy and appreciation
4- Equanimity or peace
These abodes are treasured because of the natural human happiness they express. They are immediate and simple, the universal description of an wise heart. Even when we hear 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.
Love is our true nature, but as we have seen, it is covered over by a protective layer of fear. We have learned how Buddhist practices unearth the gold beneath the clay and return us to our natural goodness. Even though this love is innate, the Buddhist path also uses systematic trainings to cultivate this love. They strengthen our capacity for love, compassion, joy, and peace.The practices that develop these qualities combine repeated thoughts, visualization, and feelings. These trainings have been employed by millions of practitioners to transform their own hearts.
When the Radiant Abodes are developed, their complementary qualities help to balance one another. This balance is considered essential in Buddhist psychology. Because love, compassion, and joy can lead to excessive attachment, their warmth needs to be balanced with equanimity. Because equanimity can lead to excessive detachment, its coolness needs to be balanced with love, compassion, and joy. Established together, these radiant qualities express optimal mental harmony.
The natural flow of these awakened qualities comes from inner peace. When consciousness is peaceful and open, we rest in equanimity. As our peaceful heart meets other beings, it fills with love. When this love meets pain, it transforms itself naturally into compassion. And when this same openhearted love meets happiness, it becomes joy. In this way, the radiant abodes spontaneously reflect and connect the whole of the world.
Source- Wise Heart by Jack Kornfield
Adapted by G Ross Clark