With equanimity, we can feel the possibility of balance in our hearts in the midst of life’s ups and downs. It’s a quality that’s both receptive and stable. In short, it’s the opposite of the reactive mind. With equanimity, there’s a feeling of ease and allowing as we ride the waves of change and different experiences. It allows us to be present to suffering and present to joy. It combines an understanding mind together with a compassionate heart. It doesn’t mean we are indifferent or that we don’t care or that we care less, it means we allow life to unfold without any attachments to an outcome or taking things personally. And finally, equanimity is opening to easing into each moment with care and gentleness.
A Guided Practice to Create Inner Balance
A Meditation for Inner Balance in the Face of Change
- Settle into a comfortable posture. You can close your eyes or simply lower your gaze. Bring awareness toward your body. Notice your breath move through your body, feeling the chest or belly expand with your breath.
- Take a moment to set an intention for the practice. Perhaps it’s to feel a sense of inner balance and ease. Take in the following phrases or the meaning of the phrases and quietly repeat to yourself: Things are just as they are. I’m safe in this moment. My happiness and suffering depend on my thoughts and actions, not simply upon my wishes. May I feel joy and ease.
- Notice whatever is present for you right now. Resting in a feeling of OK-ness in this moment, just as it is.
- Bring to mind someone who you care about and who may be going through a hard time. Extend these phrases or the meaning of the phrases to this person. I care for you yet cannot keep you from suffering. I love you yet cannot control your happiness. Your happiness and suffering depend on your thoughts and actions and not my wishes for you. May you feel joy and ease.
- Notice how you feel. Notice the raw feeling of whatever is present for you. Sit with it. Just letting it be, right now.
- Once again, bring awareness to the body, and the breath. Feel the ease of simply being and breathing.
Our automatic reactions are the result of unexamined habits, including anxiety. In his new book Unwinding Anxiety, neuroscientist and psychiatrist Judson Brewer explores how mindfulness can plant the seeds for a calmer mind. Read More