Why maitri?

"Water churns,

Fire burns,

Earth sits

and Wind stirs.

If there is enough Space,

each of these can flourish and naturally fall into the appropriate place,

creating the Mandala of Wisdom."

~Timothy R. Walker

Maitri is a Sankrit word that can be translated to mean loving-kindness or unconditional friendship toward ourself and others. It is the basis of compassion and a practice of awakening the heart in the most authentic way. By extending maitri toward ourself, we touch into profound self-acceptance, which includes the less desirable parts of our self-experience. It is from here that we can begin to relax with ourself & the discomforts of life. Maitri allows us to truly come home to ourself, in body & in mind. When we lovingly embrace all aspects of our experience in this way, it is then that we can truly accept others and extend care & compassion to include all beings.

In the contemplative practice of Maitri Space Awareness, developed byTibetan meditation master Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche in collaboration with Zen meditation master Suzuki Roshi, the ancient view of the Five Wisdom Energies is integrated so as to engage & heighten our direct perception of the world. Through this process, we begin to make friends with the various elemental energies as they manifest in our life, recognizing their workability & the dynamic benefits they bring to the world. This practice shows us how to contact our humanness & release our impulse toward constriction. We learn how to deepen our experience with life as it is, looking freshly at what's unfolding & taking an active interest in others. We learn to release fear & doubt and invoke curiosity & delight through the lens of elemental wisdom.

The Five Wisdom Energies have specific names and are associated with the elements of water, earth, fire, wind & space. They express themselves as particular qualities, and can manifest from a place of confusion or constriction as well as from a source of wisdom or intelligence. Essentially, they permeate all aspects of our lives. It is said that when the Buddha became enlightened, he realized that his awareness radiated the qualities of clarity (Vajra), equanimity (Ratna), discriminating awareness (Padma), all-accomplishing action (Karma) & complete spaciousness (Buddha).

Regardless of your background or faith tradition, the essence of maitri is about reconnecting with our authentic nature & realizing our interconnectedness. When we envision a world that is kind, peaceful & filled with equanimity & joy, maitri is the ground from which we flourish. Thus, the name Maitri Center for Mindful Living felt fitting & necessary for our times. Moreover, maitri is an aspiration we imbue into all of our offerings here at the center.