Cultivation of the Divine Abidings (friendliness, compassion, empathetic joy and equanimity) is one of the ways to connect with the spiritual heart and in the process create a more emotionally integrated spiritual life.
An integrated heart/mind deepens and enriches meditation experience, pervading all levels of our being. We begin by expressing these qualities towards ourselves until they overflow into the world around us.
These four ‘Abidings’ are not just noble ideals to live up to but experiences to be embodied so that we become their living personification. They are called ‘divine’ because experiencing them fully is an exalted, godlike experience. They are four of the traditional forty meditation subjects, friendliness being the second most widely practised subject after mindfulness of breathing.
This reflection by Ajahn Thiradhammo is from the book, Treasures of the Buddha’s Teachings, (pdf) p. 121.