Inner  Frontier
Fourth Way Spiritual Practice

 

Inner Work


For the week of April 19, 2021


Equanimity

(Long-Form Living: 3)

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Just as presence is a vaccine against negativity, equanimity is its cure. Equanimity appears to be a state of our emotions, a conscious emotion, which it certainly is, but it comes from our will, from accepting ourselves fully and our situation as it is, in this moment, regardless. But equanimity is not indifference. It does not prevent us from seeking a better future, for ourselves or for others. But we do so with an open and peaceful heart. The ongoing choice to simply be, without grasping or rejecting, puts us in equanimity.

This does not come by accident. If we practice meditation, and in that practice, we let our thoughts, emotions, and sensations come as they will and let them go, without getting caught up in them, without grasping onto any of them, and without rejecting them, we are developing equanimity. We see all the reactions, patterns, associations, and chaos happening in us and we just sit there, choosing to allow our experience to be as it is, without trying to shape it directly. Inherent in this choosing to allow is an attitude of just being, not judging and not reacting to what we see. We see ourselves getting caught by some thought or emotion and we let it go. Again, and again. This trains us in equanimity and spills over into our life beyond the meditation cushion.

In that life beyond the cushion, we practice equanimity by allowing things to be as they are. That includes allowing ourselves to take action or intervene in events when necessary or desirable or when prompted by conscience. At the core of equanimity is our willingness to be, just be, here and now, despite aspects of this moment that we may not like, or that may be painful, or that we may want to change or improve. Even with all that, we accept to be here fully in this moment, and not to half reject it, or entirely reject it, not to try get through it with one eye closed, or to try escape. We do so, however, from a place of inner freedom built on equanimity. Equanimity means being at peace with being here.

Equanimity frees us from time and thereby enables long-form living. If we are at peace, not identified with ourselves or our situation, not running toward or away from things, and not resenting the inevitable changes, then time is no longer our master. Time becomes the scene of our unfolding life, inner and outer. We watch what happens with fascination. We create what happens with engagement. We put time to work for us, as the arena for our evolving spirit. Between the experience of the past and the promise of the future, we live here and now at peace.

As our inner work deepens, our experience of the timeless, the eternal depths of reality, comes to the fore. As this occurs, the relaxation of our attitudes into equanimity comes naturally. Just as we can relax our body into our body, we can relax our emotions into equanimity. When we relax our self, we relax our grasping and identification, and set the stage for equanimity.

This is not about laziness. Within equanimity, we still feel urgency, for example the urgent need for inner work, for developing our soul, for being inwardly and outwardly kind. But again, though we work frequently, steadily, and deeply, we do so unhurriedly. That paves our way toward the Sacred, toward the higher worlds. Our spiritual responsibility is to pursue the practices of the way with dedication and urgency, and from a place of peace.

The benefits of equanimity are manifold. The practice of equanimity opens us to the conscious energy, which enables us to be, simply be, if we so choose. The practice of equanimity shines a light on and weakens our ego, because it goes against the grasping, rejecting, and judgmental attitudes that emanate from that self-centeredness. Equanimity makes us less reactive and more able to bring warmth and kindness to our relationships. And more fundamentally, it brings us a degree of inner freedom.

For this week, please practice equanimity and see how it changes the flow of your time.

See Also: Equanimity


     

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