Practicing Equanimity

As a solid mass of rock
Is not stirred by the wind,
So a sage is not moved
By praise and blame.
….
Touched by happiness and then by suffering,
The sage shows no sign of being elated or depressed.

~Dhammapada 81-83

Equanimity or calmness of mind is directly conditioned by realization of anatta or not-self. When the mind identifies with the passing winds of pleasure or pain, gain or loss, praise or blame, and fame or disgrace it is ever restless.

The traditional phrases of equanimity practice tell us that peace and stability of mind are possible when we truly know that:

I am the heir of my own karma, as you are the heir to yours.
No matter how I might wish things to be otherwise, things are as they are.
Although I wish only the best for you, I also know that your happiness and unhappiness depend upon your actions, not on my wishes for you.
Whether I understand it or not, things are unfolding according to their lawful nature.

Equanimity can be practiced by repeating these phrases as part of a meditation or period of contemplation. Another form of equanimity practice is to reflect on the Five Remembrances:

  1. I am of the nature to grow old. There is no way to escape growing old.
  2. I am of the nature to have ill-health. There is no way to escape having ill-health.
  3. I am of the nature to die. There is no way to escape death.
  4. All that is dear to me and everyone I love are of the nature to change. There is no escape being separated from them.
  5. My deeds are my closest companions. I am the beneficiary of my deeds. My deeds are the ground on which I stand.

Equanimity practice is a skillful means of conditioning the mind towards anatta.

Posted by Deb.