“Equanimity” connotes peace, balance, composure and acceptance in times that are good or bad. The word itself can conjure up a sense of serenity. It is possible for some people to experience equanimity on a regular basis because of their personality or lived experience and education.
It is also possible to cultivate equanimity through both general meditation practice and more specific meditation that focuses on developing equanimity when confronted with life events, both those that are experienced as bad and those that seem good to us.
Diana Winston offers a meditation podcast on Practising Equanimity which is designed to help us focus on life events that may be a source of disturbance to our equanimity so that we can learn to be with them without rancour or inflated elation.
Diana, in the prelude to her equanimity meditation, refers to the definition of mindfulness promoted by the Mindfulness Awareness Research Centre (MARC) at UCLA:
Mindful awareness can be defined as paying attention to present moment experiences with openness, curiosity, and a willingness to be with what is.
She particularly focuses on the words, “a willingness to be with what is” – which, in one sense, defines equanimity. So often we can be absorbed by what has happened in the past (with resentment, disappointment or bitterness) or obsessed about the future (with anxiety, agitation or disturbance). In the process, we lose our sense of equilibrium and the experience of equanimity.
What we experience as good can also disturb our equanimity because it may be so good that we never want it to end – we want to hang onto the experience and become overly attached to it to the point that we are resentful when it ends.
So being present in the moment and accepting fully “what is” can be very difficult. Meditation can enable us to develop a sustained sense of calmness but we can still be put off balance by adverse events or experiences. Our perception of the global situation may also upset our equanimity.
If we can learn through equanimity meditation to just be with whatever is present in our lives, we can reduce our emotional response, develop creative solutions and take informed action to create change rather than” working from reactivity”.
As we grow in mindfulness through meditation practice and specific equanimity meditation (focused on a disturbing or mood-altering event), we can increase our “response ability” and experience clarity and calmness. Diana’s meditation podcast provides the opportunity to begin this journey to cultivate equanimity.
By Ron Passfield – Copyright (Creative Commons license, Attribution–Non Commercial–No Derivatives)
Image source: courtesy of Bess-Hamiti on Pixabay
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