Equanimity Does Not Mean Equality

Equanimity is not about being equal. It is about remaining calm in the midst of difficulty. Life is not fair. It’s not equal everywhere or all of the time. There is always going to be more of a reward for one individual while others just as worthy remain unnoticed and unappreciated. parental-Control Often in life we strive to be safe, comfortable, and have a plan for the future.  So what  really belongs to you?  What do you have power over?

Not your body. It’s going to do what it’s going to do and eventually it will grow old, get sick, and die.  We surround ourselves with possessions but they could all disappear one day or vanish in a moment  from war, weather, or an enemy’s malice. People around the world often discover this to their great horror and fear. Refugees, even those with the highest education, come to our country and are relegated to low-skilled, low-paid positions. They have lost all they built and counted upon. It happens every day all around the world.

What cannot be taken away, lost, or stolen is our self-respect, courage, determination, kindness, or compassion.  In other words who you truly are inside and how you choose to perceive the world around you.  This is equanimity.

Equanimity begins with the age old rule from many lands-  GoldenRuledecide to give away to others only that which you wish to receive yourself from others.
For thousands of years this phrase has endured yet people have ignored it in favor of returning in kind, or making a peremptory strike from fear that someone has evil intention. Is someone angry with you? It is common to say- “I think I’ll return the favor.”
Did someone gossip about you? It is common to say- “What a bitch/bastard, how dare they speak of me in that fashion…just you wait!”  When we return tit for tat we are holding another as a prisoner in our mind and we are in that prison with them!

Life is likely to surprise you- it is never safe, comfortable, and secure.refugees But you can remain in equanimity by establishing and maintaining an attitude of compassion. If you respect others, you are respecting yourself. This is compassion.  If you betray and hate others you are hating and betraying yourself.  This is the normal world-mind response.

Are you preventing yourself from moving into a celebration of the moment?  Usually people’s lives stop after the bad moments. When life stops so does growth in love, joy, and the possibility for transformation.  Many say, “I am going to feel this way for the rest of my life”?  Some will withdraw and become unavailable because something bad happened at one time. That is a death sentence.

With equanimity it is possible to continue to have a cheerful life, a meaningful life, even though bad things still happen. But there is no reason to not be loving and kind despite challenges and pain.  Whatever happened- That was then. This is now.
Right now there is an infinite possibility of experiences.

Remember, when things go wrong, when mistakes happen, and loss befalls you- forgiveness is the key to wholeness and peace. Remember that we are on a journey to become progressively less stupid. So do not make forgiveness or atonement a punishment or attempt to teach yourself a lesson.  Forgiveness is the restoration of love, joy, and harmony.

If someone has made us angry, then we could pray for them.  If we return anger and pain then we become just like the ones we despise. forgive1Create acts of love instead- and not necessarily for the one who has offended you- but focus, intentional acts of loving kindness restores you to wholeness. There are unending possibilities for kindness. Compassion should compel us into action. We have feelings so we can act upon them.  When those feelings are likely to create pain and suffering for ourselves or others- we can transform the contemplated action into a compassionate action instead.

Is life perfect? No. It is temporary, changing, and above all fleeting.  So-stop trying to be perfect and just do the best you can. There are lots of opportunities to be awaken in compassionate  service.- find one of them.  Compassion is not about what “I-Will-Not-Do”…” but rather it calls for us to decide  “What-I-Will-Do.”  Equanimity is our opportunity to relax into life instead of stressing out about life.

Being Your Authentic Self

What is Equanimity?
A dictionary will say: equa·nim·i·ty  noun \ˌē-kwə-ˈni-mə-tē, ˌe-kwə-\ : calm emotions when dealing with problems or pressure

But perhaps we can describe equanimity as the ability to compassionately accept where we are and be okay with that – even if we are still crying, shaking or overwhelmed with pain. We become able to say “Yes, this is what I’m feeling.”equanimity

This is not what most of us are taught. We are more likely to hear- “if I do this I will be punished” or “don’t be such a baby!”  or “What’s wrong with you?”  Equanimity is “Oh well, I was overwhelmed with…”  Equanimity_webWith equanimity we’re not living from the point of how much guilt our emotions cause in us, but how we show up in life and navigate all the unpleasant things that happen.

“I know who I am and I am authentic in my being.” If we are questioning and denying the legitimacy of our experiences we are denying the expression of our true self.  It is our experiences that makes us uniquely who we are, that and our ability to decide how we will respond to those experiences.  Animals respond to life by seeking to survive.  They have all the same emotions we do, but they can’t decide to laugh instead of cry or share a blessing instead of biting someone.

Pain, anger, and grief are a natural part of life therefore all beings experience mental/emotional/ physical pain sometimes. Feeling what we feel does not make us spiritual cripples, it allows us to practice compassion.

A Buddhist StoryGolden buddha hands

There once was a woman who lost her son. She was very sad. She went door to door seeking healers of all sorts. We cannot help you they said, “He’s dead.”
“He should not be dead” she cried!
Finally the woman came upon the Buddha and weeping told her sad story begging for the return of her son. The Buddha agreed to help her, “All you have to do,” he said, “is bring me a grain of rice from a household that has escaped the curse of grief.” With great hope, she went through the village, door by door, and through the neighboring villages, only to hear story upon story of suffering and loss. Finally she returned to the Buddha, no less in pain, but far wiser, more compassionate, and willing to accept her human lot. Life holds pain. There is suffering and it is caused by “This should not happen.”

This woman became enlightened by understanding these facts.  When we are flattened by the things life can do to us- let’s remember that there is suffering- we are not going to get a spiritual ticket stamped “Saved from Life”.  But remembering to realign ourselves to the Higher Power and enter the state of equanimity might be enough.  Try it and see!

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Great Spirit,
May I find joy in each moment.
May I find humor in my difficulties and laughter at my mistakes.
Often, Great Spirit, I am striving, trying, seeking, learning,
grasping, working to be good, to be loving, to be kind, to be successful, to be abundant.  Life is exhausting for me when I fall
into those places where I don’t really believe
you can, or will help me.

Teach me to have faith, Great Spirit.
Help me to know that you are there for me.
Help me to stop striving and let you take care of me,
the way you do the birds of the air and the lilies of the field.
I accept your abundant, loving care in my life now.