Step 4 – Intention
“May I be Loving and Compassionate”

Love is patient, love is kind;
It does not envy, it does not boast,
It is not proud, nor is it rude;
It is not self-seeking, nor easily angered,
It keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil,
But rejoices in the truth.
Love bears all things, believes all things,
Hopes all things, and endures all things.
Love never ends.
(St. Paul in his First Letter to the Corinthians)

Now in step four, we set our intention on love and compassion — the transforming elixir for the health and happiness of all.  We vow to help ourselves and all beings to accumulate the causes of happiness and to liberated from the causes of their suffering.  

The intention of love and compassion is the entry point for our meditation and spiritual practice.  Rather than self-centered narcissism, we expand our intention outwards knowing that the wellbeing of both ourselves and others are inextricably intertwined.

(1) Video Intro: 

(2) Readings: ISM Part II, Step Four, Pages 95-111, MIP Pages 21-25.

(3) Resources
Take a look at the additional resources I have provided for this topic and do some of your own research.  Gather together and reflect on your personal resources and life experiences that support and sustain your intention to be loving and compassionate.

(4) Journaling: Contemplate and write about your understanding and feelings of love and compassion.  Here are some approaches to help you develop of your own meditation.

  • Generate a pure intention of love and compassion for yourself as you would for someone else whom you love unconditionally.
  • Generate love and compassion for others beginning with a person for whom you have unconditional love.
  • Equalizing self and others.  Empathize with the suffering of others and feel how their wounds have created unhappiness for themselves and others.  Feel love and compassion for them as you would for someone you easily love unconditionally.
  • Contemplate how universal interdependence, reciprocity and wellbeing entails love and compassion.
  • Experience love and compassion as universal and sacred, perhaps a synonym for God or ‘the divine.’ Use your own language here.

(5) Meditation: Practice the seven steps with special emphasis on Step Four.  Try to do this on your own, only using the following guided meditation if necessary.

 (5a) Guided Meditation with Music

This version of ISM combines a guided meditation with spiritual music from Buddhism (Ganden Loseling Monks), Christianity (Fiona Davidson, Fonn, Ceile De), Hinduism (Swami Atmarupananda), Islam (Sufism – Camille Helminski), Judaism (Rabbi Zalman Schachter), and Native American (Carlos Nakai) traditions.  It is accompanied by a composition by cello player Michael Fitzpatrick “Dawn of the Millenium.”  (It is not presently available for download.)

(6) Weekly Class Audio-Video Recordings

If you weren’t able to attend the live online class, or would like to watch/listen again, please click the following link.

Click here for the video recordings of our weekly classes.

(7) Reflections:

Most of us experience moments of authentic, unconditional love and compassion.  But often, we just don’t feel that way!   The world’s contemplative and spiritual traditions have found ways to help us to cultivate love and compassion even when they don’t arise spontaneously and continuously within us.   Please share your reflections on the methods you are finding to cultivate love and compassion. 

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