In this Monthly Mantra series, I wanted to define and discuss equanimity. This week has been filled with so many different emotions and the notion of equanimity was actually a perfect way for me to reflect. Personally, this week was more challenging than others. It had come to a point where I was feeling a little overloaded and I wanted to share my thought process in hopes that it may help someone find some inner peace.
What is equanimity?
- Evenness of mind especially under stress. – Merriam Webster
- Equanimity is a state of psychological stability and composure which is undisturbed by experience of or exposure to emotions, pain, or other phenomena that may cause others to lose the balance of their mind. The virtue and value of equanimity is extolled and advocated by a number of major religions and ancient philosophies. –Wikipedia
Have you ever tried to find the right balance of words to say in a difficult situation? Maybe you decide to stay silent because the answer might be filled with distraught. With Election Day, I know many are on high alert and any comment can be interpreted differently. So, instead of reacting with pure emotions, I have decided to sit and let things settle.
This is tough…
For one, being home juggling work with all three children can be depleting. When the high stress level reaches max capacity- naturally, I alone freak out and my kids get the brunt of my emotions. It is so unfair and probably common in relationships! If you spend enough time with a person, you tend to lash out at them when things go wrong, right? So, how do I manage to find “zen” in compromising situations?
Equanimity & Yoga
With equanimity in yoga, we strive to find the balance between being comfortable in the uncomfortable; meaning—- surrendering to the pose or practice. With this in mind and relating it to life, I sort of surrendered to the situation I was in at home: Being with the kids, keeping the environment stable while trying to work. It is a work in progress for sure!
Lately, I have been incorporating a meditation session at least three times a week. Typically, this is done in the evening because the kids are way too distracting. Here is one I’ve found. Jack Kornfield’s voice is soothing and supportive. Guided meditations have helped me find stillness a bit easier than sitting in silence alone with just my breath.
Finding Peace In A Book
Have you tried to check your email and segway to something completely different while on your computer? We all do it! So, why can’t we use a book (magazine, any reading material really) as a means to distract our thoughts? As long as you don’t get too carried away and forget all responsibilities for the day, reading can promote a sense of calm and briefly take worries away.
While reading the Hatha Yoga Pradipika, I found this quote, “Lightness of the body is reduction of the heaviness in the body, or the quality of tamas (darkness, and ignorance.) When both are achieved, the quality of balance or sativa arises, and there is good health in body and greater mental clarity.”
You see… Finding that middle ground, that place of equanimity can really make a difference. When people are filled with stress, joy, anxiety, depression, pain… Your body is imbalanced (I’ll talk about the chakras in a different entry). There needs to be a sufficient amount of all emotions in order to level the playing field. Once you realize where you are misaligned, work backwards and try adding in what’s missing in life at that very moment.
I want to end this entry with a quote from Pema Chodron:
“Cultivating equanimity is a work in progress. We aspire to spend our lives training in the loving-kindness and courage that it takes to receive whatever appears—sickness, health, poverty, wealth, sorrow, and joy. We welcome and get to know them all.”