Practicing Equanimity

This Monday, Andy will facilitate. He shares:

I am not sure about you but in recent years the ability to be reached 24/7/365 has led to a number of perfectly fine days being brought to a screeching halt by an incoming email, text or call. Typically the message conveys a low level panic or anxiety that someone was experiencing and which they felt should be “forwarded”.Occasionally, it actually includes something serious and rarely something important and alarming (albeit even in these circumstances calm usually returns quickly). Maybe I was less sensitive to these ‘jolts’ in the past or maybe as I have gotten older they have become more regular, but either way I now recognize them as part of life. 

In the last couple of years as I have returned to a regular practice the term ‘equanimity’ has kept catching my eye. As a central tenet within Buddhism, equanimity (in Pali, upekkha) is one of the Four Immeasurables or four great virtues (along with compassion, loving kindness, and sympathetic joy). Upe means “over,” and kkha means “to look.” You climb the mountain to be able to look over the situation. In western language the term “equanimity” first entered the English language in the 17th century from the Latin “aequanimitas,” which comes from “aequus” (equal) and “animus” (mind). According to the Oxford English Dictionary, it means “calmness and composure, especially in a difficult situation”. I am sure that similar concepts and language exist in most, if not all cultures.  

Thay has spoken about the importance of the practice of equanimity --remaining calm in trying circumstances -- and has described how equanimity can serve as a "balm of clear water to pour on the roots of our afflictions," to use a verse from "The Ceremony for Beginning Anew”, a section of which is included below: 

Please bring the balm of clear water
to pour on the roots of our afflictions.
Please bring the raft of the true teachings
to carry us over the ocean of sorrows.
We vow to live an awakened life,
to learn the path of true happiness, 
and to practice smiling and conscious breathing.
Diligently we live in mindfulness.

What does the term equanimity mean to you and how do you seek to practice this in your life? 

How do you deal with the difficult issues that arise and how does your own practice help?

I hope you will join us on Monday night.