Here we have Padmavajra talking about the importance of bhavana in our metta practice – the growing of friendly feelings, friendly responses, slowly, gently, like a garden. What you attend to, you become. It is vital that we engage with the practice honestly, starting where we actually are and gradually moving towards non-dual loving kindness, maha maitri, the Great Love that has dissolved the distinction between self and other.
Ratnavandana introduces and guides us through a composite practice of all four Brahma Viharas at once - loving kindness, compassion, sympathetic joy, equanimity.
She sets the scene perfectly with an introduction to the notion of cultivation/development within the context of a Buddhist spiritual life, showing how each of these qualities may be called forth whenever needed in the face of our experience, just as the flower is called forth from the seed in springtime.