Does it feel like you are just getting through one challenge, and another is right there waiting for you? Just when the news couldn't get worse, it does? Just when you begin to feel like you are grounded, the rug gets pulled out from under you again? Most of us are feeling waves of loss, fear, restlessness, isolation and worry which continue to knock us over, day after day, moment after moment. Our country is in crisis, and many of us are struggling with finances, family issues, physical and mental issues. And then, this week one of my closest friends lost a loved one in a tragic hit and run accident. How could that happen too? The refrain to the song of our lives right now seems to be "this too?". How can we take anymore? How can we not rail against what's happening and feel trapped in our despair and disappointment? Somehow we have to find equanimity; mental calmness and composure in difficult situations.
There is an ancient Buddhist poem that reads: If your mind becomes firm like a rock and no longer shakes In a world where everything is shaking Your mind will be your greatest friend and suffering will not come your way.
We can learn to cultivate this non-judgmental presence by focusing on the space between the stimulus and our response, which Victor Frankel says is synonymous with freedom. Instead of asking the question "this too?" when hit with a trigger, try just breathing in "this", and releasing "too". "This too" becomes a statement, a mantra, a way of accepting anything and everything that comes at you, rather than questioning/fighting/resisting whatever is happening. This too? becomes This too... Gandhi took a day off every week to sit and do nothing so that "my actions arise from the wisdom of my heart". That's what we want to move towards- sourcing ourselves in a balanced presence so that our actions can arise from a wisdom that is free from grasping an aversion.
How do we develop equanimity? 1. Embrace our obstacles rather than trying to avoid, control and manipulate every experience. 2. Bring the qualities of composure and poise to each task. 3. Move your body in mindful ways. 4. Expose yourself to cultures and traditions other than your own. 5. Look out at the horizon as often as you can. 6. Meditate daily. 7. Discover new music. 8. Read inspirational books by people who have traveled this road. 9. When you get triggered, write down your thoughts and feelings and then acknowledge that you are not your thoughts or feelings. Equanimity is a conditioned state that resembles the liberated mind. It is not about ignoring the fear, the rage, the doubt, but including it all. When you keep including and allowing everything that is happening, the heart will be ready for anything. From there, we can respond with care. It is not an easy road to travel but it is well worth it because ultimately we are brought closer to ourselves. Follow the invisible path that brings you out of reactivity, to your most awakened self.
St. Teresa of Avila, in the Interior Castle, encourages you: "There is a secret place, A radiant sanctuary. This magnificent refuge is inside you. Enter. Shatter the darkness that shrouds the doorway. Step around the poisonous vipers that slither at your feet, attempting to throw you off course. Be bold, Be humble. Close your eyes and follow your breath to the still place that leads to the invisible path that leads you home."
Join us on Sunday at The Gathering to breathe, reflect and share about how to develop equanimity. REGISTER HERE!! https://www.thegathering-la.com/events-1/sunday-hour-of-calm-1 Please forward this newsletter to someone you think could use a little nurturing.
With Love and Light,
Lawyer/Entrepreneur/Mom/Immersive Meditation Leader/Ripple Maker
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