Equanimity: The Unshakeable Balance of Mind
A disciple went to the monk and said “My meditation & daily practice is horrible. I feel so distracted, I constantly fall asleep and I am unable to concentrate”
The monk said “it will pass”
A week later, the disciple went back to the monk and said “My meditation is wonderful! I feel so aware, so peaceful, so alive”
The monk replied ”It will pass”
Such is the temporary nature of our feelings and emotions. The same activity at one point in time can feel horrible and at the other time can feel wonderful. It is our state of mind that drives our emotions and feelings and the way we behave or react in a particular situation or circumstance. We can derive pleasure and pain from the same materialistic things and happiness and grief from the same people in our lives depending on our state of mind at a particular point in time. So what does it take to get to a stable and steady state of mind at all points in time irrespective of circumstances we are dealing with or the behavior of people in our lives? What does it take to achieve equanimity — a state of steady wisdom, calmness and composure independent of circumstances?
In order to get to the answer, it’s important to understand what are the causes of lack of equanimity and how do we address those causes to reach a state of equanimity. Scriptures, learned authors, spiritual masters have all experienced and laid down through various ways the following causes for lack of equanimity:
1. Attachment to outcomes of unfulfilled desires — When we desire materialistic things or desire people in our life to behave as per our expectations and those desires are unfulfilled we are disappointed, angry, depressed and our mind is unstable. One desire leads to another, another desire leads to another and it’s all a vicious circle. Even on fulfillment of desires, we only get temporary happiness as we move on to the next one. The moment we detach ourselves from outcomes we will find stability. Have desires, ambitions, goals & dreams but don’t attach yourself to outcomes. Enjoy this beautiful journey of life and embrace all its ups and downs, success and failure, summer and winter, birth and death — all dualities of life. Train your mind to accept and embrace dualities of life as a seer and grow through these ups and downs. It will give your mind the equanimity that you are looking for.
2. Ego — Edge God Out — Our ego is one of the biggest causes for our lack of equanimity. Ego makes us uptight, inflexible, stubborn and blind with the perception that “I am always right”. There is always another side to a story. Never judge anyone as everyone has their own perception of why they behave in a particular manner in a particular situation. You may be right but that doesn’t mean the other person is wrong. When we allow our ego to run our lives, we deny the presence of the divine in everyone around us — we edge God out. The lack of peace due to conflicts, misunderstandings, communication gaps, hatred and disappointments are all due to our ego. Bring in humility, compassion, unconditional love, acceptance in your life and your ego will vanish. Make soul friendships, learn from spiritual masters, mentors and wise people how to be egoless, how to realize your true self, which is the same divine self in every other human being, to find your equanimity.
3. Living in the past & future— Our mind has the tendency to keep fluctuating between past and future, which prevents it from living in the present moment and experiencing the power of now. We have unfulfilled desires from the past and future, we have fears and worries from the past and future, we have perceptions and judgements about people from the past and future — all of this leads to lack of peace of mind. When we are in the present moment we make the most of it and are always joyful. When we enjoy this journey of life every moment that journey becomes a destination. Think of all those moments when you were engrossed in living in the moment — whether in reading a book, listening to your favorite piece of music, sipping your coffee, hugging your loved one, exploring new travel places, learning a new hobby, working towards a tough goal, experiencing the joy of giving, expressing love, devotion & gratitude to God and His creations — you were in perfect state of equanimity because you were living that moment to the fullest. Live in the present moment and find your equanimity
Find your divine eternal joy within, find your mind’s state of equanimity by giving up attachment to desires & their outcomes, by giving up ego & embracing life, people & all of God’s creations in your life with unconditional love and grace and by living life in the present moment.
”In the end only three things matter: how much you loved, how gently you lived and how gracefully you let go of things not meant for you” — Buddha