This is Post 19 in the ‘Meditation Guidance’ series.
In the previous five posts I have been talking about the inner landscape of the blue Eastern Quadrant of the mandala – the Thinking function; the Mental Body; the Hara chakra (second chakra); the brahmavihāra of Equanimity; the qualia of Being; the attitude of objectivity; the ethical characteristics of honesty and integrity; and the mirror as a symbol of Consciousness and non-dual wisdom. We also started to explore the polarity between, or the choice between: the peaceful, objectively observing, and embodied, style of consciousness, which is associated with Equanimity and Being; and the fragile, judgemental, mentally-constructed, and obsessively self-referencing form of identity, which psychology calls narcissism.
Cosmic Appreciation and Gratitude
Circumambulating clockwise round the mandala, we come next to the Southern Quadrant of the mandala and to the brahmavihāra of muditā. In Tibetan Buddhist tradition the Southern Quadrant is yellow – the colour of gold and of the earth. Muditā is often translated as Sympathetic Joy, and occasionally translated as Empathetic Joy, but Appreciative Joy is, in my view, a much better translation. While I used to be happy to translate muditā as Sympathetic Joy, as I was first taught, many years ago, I now prefer to use Appreciative Joy.
Traditionally muditā is understood to refer to our innate sympathetic response to the happiness and achievements of others. It is certainly this, and it is naturally present in all those types of social interactions and responses to events in the world that are in any way genuine expressions of appreciation and gratitude. It is important however, to recognise that muditā, in its archetypal essence as mahamuditā, or Great Appreciative Joy, is a cosmic principle – an attitude of Consciousness itself. Continue reading