Expanding Circle

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From Pema Chodron’s The Places and Scare You: A Guide to Fearlessness in Difficult Times: “The formal practice of loving-kindness or maitri has seven stages. We begin by engendering loving-kindness for ourselves and then expand it at our own pace to include loved ones, friends, “neutral” persons, those who irritate us, all of the above as a group, and finally, all beings throughout time and space. We gradually widen the circle of loving-kindness. The traditional aspiration used is “May I and others enjoy happiness and the root of happiness.” In teaching this I’ve found that people sometimes have trouble with the word happiness…To get at the heart of the loving-kindness practice we may have to put the aspiration for happiness into our own words…The aspiration of a woman I know is that we all learn to speak and think and act in a way that adds up to fundamental well-being.”


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