In my practice, I’ve recently been contemplating equanimity. Equanimity is one of the Four Immeasurables found in many Buddhist teachings. The Four Immeasurables are love, compassion, joy and equanimity. A definition of equanimity is something like mental and emotional stability when faced with experiences that may cause others to lose the balance of their mind. Why is equanimity important? In general, most people have a strong attachment or aversion to certain things whether it’s particular people, situations or different sense perceptions. (sights, smells, sounds or tastes) This can cause all kinds of suffering. When you want to go out to eat at your favorite restaurant and you find out they’re closed - that’s attachment, or when you go out to eat at your favorite restaurant and you don’t like the food you ordered - that’s aversion. Equanimity teaches us to be flexible and adaptable in different situations. When our hearts and minds are open anything is possible, and the whole world can fit in our heart.
There’s also a strong correlation between equanimity and compassion. Many of the teachings say it’s important to try to treat every human as though they were your mother or someone else you love. Occasionally this is much easier to imagine than to put into practice! There are those moments when people annoy each other, but imagine a world where the kind of care and concern directed towards each other as though each person’s life was significant to the wellbeing of all lives. Life is very precious and I think equanimity helps awaken the compassion that is already there within our own hearts.
Posted by Kate Dutton on December 8, 2018.