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. 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- decide 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. 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. Create 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.