by Katie B. Smith
In Pema Chodron’s book, Comfortable with Uncertainty, she states, “to cultivate equanimity we practice catching ourselves when we feel attraction or aversion, before it hardens into grasping or negativity.” Webster’s Dictionary defines equanimity as, “evenness of mind, especially under stress.”
What tools help you experience evenness in yourself and your surroundings? With all we have going on in our lives, this is certainly an area we can all benefit from. Feeling either attraction or aversion towards something will move us out of balance from remaining equal and neutral. But why is it so important to cultivate this kind of balance in ourselves? In remaining neutral we can allow thoughts to flow through us without judging them but seeing them as they are – simply thoughts. By remaining neutral we allow diversity and differences to exist in ourselves and others without trying to control or change them. This cultivates acceptance. The more diversity we allow, the more we live out of love instead of fear. And isn’t the space of love what we crave? As we have all heard, variety is the spice of life. And the spice is what inspires, juices us and motivates us to stretch beyond our boundaries and bring more of our true selves into our lives.
Acceptance also fosters fulfillment and contentment. Think about what fulfills you. What allows you to let go, relax and feel whole? Be it work or personal fulfillment, one affects the other. They are one and the same. So what are you doing to develop equanimity in your work and in your personal life?
For some it is practicing yoga or a healing art, for some it is connecting with nature. For others it may be choosing a different thought in the moment, or taking baby steps to change just one behavior at a time. All of these methods create sustainable change toward balance and equanimity.
What have you done in your work and your personal life that cultivates equanimity and what will you do this year to continue the practice?
Katie B. Smith