Equanimity

Equanimity is a sense of balance, calm, even-mindedness, stability of mind amidst the changing nature of life. Through our practice and living life, we see that everything is constantly changing. We also go through difficult times, perhaps with difficult emotions, difficult thoughts, and difficult body sensations. Amidst this constant change or even prolonged difficulty, we can access calm stability of mind by: 

A) mindfulness of body: moving our attention of the difficult or changing body sensation(s) to another area of the body, or the area spatially around the difficulty or change. For example, if you are having unpleasant sensations in the chest, you can choose to move your attention to an area of the body that feels okay or more pleasant.

B) mindfulness of breath: moving our attention to the sensations of the breath, which are always here as long as we’re alive.

Through mindfulness practice, we train the mind to come back to the present moment with kindness, curiosity, and nonjudgement, while seeing things as they are.

C) practicing a more open form of awareness, also called natural awareness or nondual awareness, in which we open our awareness and expend less effort in concentration. We can be aware of awareness itself. A book with guidance on practicing natural awareness is “The Little Book of Being” by Diana Winston

D) noticing that things change, and that this too shall pass

E) repeating silently or aloud the phrases of equanimity:

Things are as they are. May I be with things as they are.

I am as I am. May I accept myself as I am.

You are as you are. May I be with you just as you are.

When we feel equanimity, we can see that it is not a state of indifference, apathy, or seeing change and difficulties in ourselves as unimportant. Equanimity can be a type of seeing things as they are from a big picture vantage point. Imagine going to higher ground, like standing at the apex of a mountain. From this view, we can see the big picture (akin to expanding our awareness or nondual awareness), that we are all significant and insignificant. We are all important, and unimportant, equally. In equanimity, there is no discrimination. This kind of view is what the phrases of equanimity can evoke. Equanimity is a deeply connected state that recognizes the truth of things “as they are.” We can feel our common conundrums, or common joys and sorrows and piddly yet gargantuan irritations, insults, injury, love, friendliness. We can see local and world issues, justice and injustice, and act from a place of equanimity to bring about change to transform suffering to happiness.

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