My Practice of Equanimity

September 12, 2008

I feel I have been so neglectful towards my blog over the last couple of weeks. this has been due to a change of work situation and generally getting caught up in worldly pursuits. I have missed writing, partly as this seems to help me evaluate certain aspects of my practice and sometimes for me writing about things helps me to understand more. I thought it time that I evaluated my determination to practice equanimity which I wrote about in a previous post. This will also show me if I am all talk and no action!

There has been some improvement in my practice of equanimity, I have managed to develop warm and friendly attitudes towards all living beings – that is until actually coming into contact with any. Not really, I’m not quite that bad. I have definitely thought more about equanimity throughout the days and have managed to maintain a certain degree of the motivation to want to develop this mind. It is this intention that has prevented me from: wanting to push people away that I don’t especially feel drawn to; and getting extra close to those people who I initially feel more favourable towards. For me this a good step in the right direction. I have realised how quickly I make judgements about people, in relation to friend, enemy or stranger. In certain situations when  remembering equanimity I have been able to stop unbalanced feelings from developing before they get out of control simply by remembering the benefits of the balanced mind of equanimity and the protection it offers. 

I have had a few challenging experiences of working with people in prisons who have committed awful crimes and state quite clearly that they have no remorse. To begin with I found it difficult to have a balanced mind, in terms of having aversion, however later by thinking about them and their present situation and possible future situations, I became able to undermine this aversion and feel compassion, and in turn found myself genuinely wanting to help them. I know this is no major development but is definitely a start. This has given me confidence in my practice, and any slight improvement beats a deterioration. Generally when faced with challenges, I don’t particularly like it, however any such challenge that makes one look at one’s mind and genuinely try to use the Dharma to challenge what is found there, surely must be worth it.

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3 Responses to “My Practice of Equanimity”

  1. Mahayana Disciple Says:

    Hi Happy, I had a powerful experience of the supreme inner peace that comes from equanimity, and also conversely, how attachment has the ability to immediately disturb our inner peace. It’s quite a long story so apologies but I just wanted to share it with you:
    My brother was killed in Afghanistan a couple of years ago, along with 13 other guys and their bodies were flown back home simultaneously before being identified. My family, and the other 13 families, spent some quiet time in a room with all 14 coffins, not knowing who was in each one. Looking at all 14 coffins I noticed my mind felt completely equal to them all. Not one coffin was more important, they were all equally, very important and I felt strong affection towards all 14 guys. My mind felt so peaceful – it was quite beautiful. After a while I began to wonder which one my brothers body was in and decided to imagine that he was in the coffin nearest to me. What happened next amazed me, my mind immediately became agitated. That coffin suddenly became much more important than the others, grossly exaggerated, in fact the other 13 were suddenly irrelevant to me. It was such an unpeaceful, painful feeling that I made myself remember I didn’t know which was my brothers coffin. Through effort I was quickly able to get back the feeling of equanimity and immediately, you guessed it, the peace came back to my mind.
    It was a great teaching for me, it felt exactly as Geshe-la describes in Joyful Path of Good Fortune p400 “When we gain the realization of equanimity our mind becomes peaceful and we do not feel disturbed whatever our circumstances.”
    Although I didn’t actually gain a realization but just a glimpse which, considering the circumstances was proof to me that Dharma really works!

  2. happynewkadampa Says:

    Hi Mahayana Disciple
    Thank you so much for sharing the above story. I am really sorry about the death of your Brother and the other 13 guys, its just awful. I think it is so amazing that you were able to apply equanimity in such a situation. The way you describe the different changes in your mind is very clear. I will remember your story in my own future practice and I believe it will be of real benefit for me and probably for many other people too. Thank you. x

  3. sandrar Says:

    Hi! I was surfing and found your blog post… nice! I love your blog. 🙂 Cheers! Sandra. R.


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