Compassion and Wisdom – Two wings of a bird

Wisdom and Compassion are considered two wings of the bird of awakening; inseparable, each an aspect of each other, each needing the other to be its truest self.  Wisdom without compassion can be dry and indifferent; compassion without wisdom can be mushy, saccharine, maudlin.

We will continue alternating each time we meet, between a “wisdom” practice and a “compassion” practice – an artificial designation, for sure, because, as Frank Sinatra sang about love and marriage in my youth, “you can’t have one without the other.”

More accurately, we’ll be alternating between ways of seeing and being.  One time we’ll do mindfulness practices, which focus on the four foundations of mindfulness.  These practices have to do with seeing into the true nature of reality, exactly as it is, without interference.

Alternately, the “compassion” practices have to do with cultivating wholesome states.  Actually generating states of mind which are more skillful, more apt to lead to happiness than suffering.  Last year we focused on the “Brahma-Viharas”  – the four divine abodes.This year, we’ll be talking about the Paramis – the ten perfections.

The Paramis, or ten perfections, are both precursors and byproducts of mindfulness.  They are qualities which, when practiced, will improve your ability to be at ease in the present moment, just as it is; and also, when we do mindfulness meditation, these qualities are developed as a natural byproduct.

The Paramis are for the people who think they’re meditating, and nothing is happening.  Practice for a while, and see if these qualities are not being developed, in the background, in spite of yourself.

But also, see how much easier it will be to practice, when you take the actions and steps which develop these mind states and attitudes.

We’ll be doing one each month.  This month, the first, is Generosity.  Stay tuned.

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About Diana Gould

Diana Gould leads the Thursday night sitting group at InsightLA, and is the guiding teacher for Dharma Alliance, a mindfulness meditation group at InsightLA for the LGBTQI ommunity. She has been a meditator for 35 years, practicing Insight meditation for 20. She graduated from the Community Dharma Leader Training at Spirit Rock, was trained as a facilitator at the Vipassana Support Institute, and is part of the Teacher Development group at InsightLA, under the guidance of founder Trudy Goodman. She completed Buddhist Chaplaincy training at the Sati Institute, and works as a spiritual care volunteer with Vitas Hospice, where she was named Volunteer of the Year in 2011. She graduated from UCLA Film School and received an MFA from the Bennington Writers Program. As a television writer and producer, her credits include pilots, episodes, movies and miniseries for network and cable. Her first novel, “Coldwater” will be published in April 2013 by Gibraltar Road.

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