2. Gardeners also have the capacity for equanimity – an evenness of mind or a state of inner unshakability in the face of all the highs and lows of our various experiences.
• Why is this important? This is what can make pain transformative instead of traumatic and debilitating
PLEASE STAND UP IN FRONT OF THE COMPUTER AND STAND ON ONE LEG. FIND THE BALANCE POINT. DO YOU NOTICE THAT THERE IS A LOT OF MOVEMENT IN YOUR FOOT MUSCELES AND BONES AS YOU ARE TRYING TO BALANCE? DO YOU ALSO NOTICE THAT WHEN YOU FIND THE BALANCE POINT EVEN IF IT IS ONLY FOR A FEW SECONDS YOU WILL EXPERIENCE A CALM YOU CAN FEEL IN YOUR WHOLE BODY? THAT CALM IS THE EQUANAMITY WE ARE TALKING ABOUT.
Equanimity means understanding how we perceive and how our perceptions are colored and swayed by hidden meanings.
Equanimity is a profound quality of mindfulness that cultivates the ability to let go. Or another way of saying it is an unshakable balance of mind that is rooted in insight.
In the Christian tradition we might look at the fruit of the spirit like self control or gentleness.
Looking at the world around us, and looking into our own heart, we see clearly how difficult it is to attain and maintain balance of mind.
We have a couple options as life events hit us.
• Suppression – bottle it up, push it down, manage the exterior,
• Identification – emotions hit and hijack and we are out of control. We then justify to ourselves and others why we “can’t help it” or “you would respond just the same” but identification is the problem.
In between suppression and identification is the balance point.
Looking into life we notice how it continually moves between contrasts: rise and fall, success and failure, loss and gain, honour and blame. We feel how our heart responds to all this happiness and sorrow, delight and despair, disappointment and satisfaction, hope and fear. These waves of emotion carry us up and fling us down; and no sooner do we find rest, than we are in the power of a new wave again.
Happiness and sadness are fleeting right?
We say all the time “sleep on it” “it will look different in the morning” “this too will pass”
These are all sayings about nonattachment. Don’t get too attached because it will feel different and be different later.
I must lose my life to find it Jesus said.
But the kind of equanimity required has to be based on vigilant presence of mind, not on indifferent dullness. It has to be the result of hard, deliberate training, not the casual outcome of a passing mood.
True equanimity, however, should be able to meet all tests and to regenerate its strength from sources within. It will possess this power of resistance and self-renewal only if it is rooted in insight.
Exercise in equanimity.
Come into your body. Follow your breath.
Identify a person, or situation that in the past has created emotional imbalance for you. Something that in the past would throw you into a reactive postures.
Now picture that situation/person. Enter into the emotions of it. Become curious about what is happening in your body.
Notice there are two things going on. You are experiencing the situation AND you are observing what is happening to you in the situation.
Now fully embrace those feelings. Terror, fear, anger, frustration.
Now realize you can experience those feeling but also not act on them in any significant way. You can choose a non reactive path.
Now go and repeat the exact same scenario. This time realizing that the movie you are currently playing is the same way you will respond this week to the situation. You are PRACTICING!