We all want to be happy and peaceful. And yet these qualities are elusive for many, and transient even for those who generally themselves as possessing them. Regardless of creed or station in life, we all encounter problematic situations and may come to associate some of them with certain people. These circumstances range from mere annoyance to catastrophic disaster. They disturb our happiness and peace. We tend to see in black and white, good and bad. And our reactions are tempered, if not regard entirely shaped, by these evaluations.
So how to we become happy and peaceful? I believe we cultivate these qualities in the process of developing equanimity.
Equanimity probably is one of the loftiest emotional and spiritual attainments, a “state of psychological stability and composure which is undisturbed by experience of or exposure to emotions, pain, or other phenomena that may cause others to lose the balance of their mind. The virtue and value of equanimity is extolled and advocated by a number of major religions and ancient philosophies.” (Wikipedia, accessed 2019-03-16). It is not a dry or dissociated, apathetic state but one that stems from unity with something deeper than changing circumstance.
St. Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Jesuits, said to his contemporary, Jeronimo Nadal, “God is to be found in everything.” (http://ctscatholiccompass.org/finding-god-in-all-things/, accessed 2019-03-06).
Interesting. Sounds good in theory.
In the Four Quartets, T.S. Eliot plainly states, at the end of a reverie on flagging motivation and disenchantment, “For us, there is only the trying. The rest is not our business.”
Other than beating up on ourselves for not automatically seeing good in things or loving all people, or dissociating, becoming apathetic, spiritually by-passing or dropping all our boundaries, how do we develop the balance and composure of equanimity?
Different spiritual traditions and psychological schools have offered a variety of paths to foster equanimity. Of the methods I’ve tried, I am partial to the integrated, understandable, effective, and practical paradigm and protocol offered by iRest Yoga Nidra Meditation. It can be used by people of any faith or inclination.
To find out more about iRest, see here.