4 Elements to Strengthen Us
As people committed to social justice, we are living in overwhelming, uncertain, and frightening times. We feel called to respond to great suffering.
We are all the more grateful, then, for the Buddha’s wisdom teachings, which focus precisely on the nature of suffering, and how to overcome it. By seeking refuge in a path of wisdom, we create space for clarity, courage, and skillful response — not only for ourselves, but for the benefit of others.
In difficult times, here are 4 friends we can call on: the 4 Immeasurables, or Brahmaviharas. If it helps, you might imagine them corresponding to the 4 Elements.
Whatever religion, tradition, faith or non-faith you practice, we invite you to support BPF’s spiritual activist offerings in 2017, always grounding social justice work in ageless values like compassion, kindness, connective joy, and equanimity.
Karuna (Compassion) — Earth Element
Knowing that we are interconnected, I open my heart to the suffering of others. In the rich, dark soil of compassion, I nurture deep roots of solidarity, finding those tender, alive places where our struggles interweave.
From rootedness, I grow toward peace, justice, and collective liberation.
Loving-Kindness (Metta) — Wind Element
I send goodwill everywhere on the winds: to myself, my loved ones, community, and maybe even my enemies, while compassionately confronting oppression with all my heart.
May the winds of loving-kindness fill my sails as I work to better this world.
Empathetic Joy (Mudita) — Fire Element
I notice and delight in the happiness of others: from the beaming smile of a child, to youth and elders rising up, incandescent, for Black lives, gender justice, immigrant rights, queer love, sacred Earth, and more.
I shine brightest when others shine, too.
Equanimity (Upekkha) — Water Element
Flowing in a wide stream of bold, beautiful social movements throughout space and time, I know I am not alone. Seeing the truth of impermanence, I recall that nothing lasts forever.
From this place of balance, I use my gifts to take action for what I believe is right.