The absence of craving and aversion does not imply an attitude of callous indifference, in which one enjoys one’s own liberation but gives no thought to the suffering of others. On the contrary, real equanimity is properly called “holy indifference”. It is a dynamic quality, an expression of purity of mind. When freed of the habit of blind reaction the mind, for the first time, can take positive action which is creative, productive, and beneficial for oneself and for all others. […]
There are those who imagine that always remaining balanced means that one can no longer enjoy life in all its variety, as if a painter had a palette full of colors and chose to use nothing but gray, or as if one had a piano and chose to play nothing but middle C. The is a wrong understanding of equanimity. The fact is that the piano is out of tune and we do not know how to play it. Simply pounding the keys in the name of self expression will only create discord. But if we learn how to tune the instrument and to play it properly, then we can make music. From the lowest to the highest note, we use the full range of the keyboard, and every note we play creates nothing but harmony, beauty. [...]
The logical conclusion of meditation is metta-bhavana, the development of goodwill towards others. Previously one may have paid lip service to such sentiments, but deep within the mind the old process of craving and aversion is continued. Now, to some extent the process of reaction has stopped, the old habit of egoism is gone and goodwill naturally flows from the depths of the mind. With the entire force of a pure mind behind it, this goodwill can be very powerful in creating a peaceful and harmonious atmosphere for the benefit of all.
Questioner: What is true compassion?
It is the wish to serve people, to help them out of suffering. But it must be without attachment. If you start crying over the suffering of others, you only make yourself unhappy. If you have true compassion, then with all possible love you try to help others to the best of your ability. If you fail, you smile and try another way to help. You serve without worrying about the results of your service. This is real compassion, proceeding from a balanced mind.
-- S. N. Goenka, in "Art of Living"
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