Continuing with Sally Armstrong’s talk, “Facets of Equanimity,” looking at some of the ways equanimity might be experienced in our meditation practice.
She states, “Any moment of true or clear mindfulness has equanimity in it.”
You can hear this balance of equanimity in the definitions of mindfulness Sally shares.
Mindfulness is the aware, balanced acceptance of the present experience. It isn’t more complicated than that. It is opening to or receiving the present moment, pleasant or unpleasant, just as it is, without either clinging to it or rejecting it.~ Sylvia Boorstein, It’s easier than you think: the Buddhist way to happiness
Mindfulness brings the qualities of poise, equilibrium and balance to the mind, keeping it sharply focused, with the attitude of sitting back and watching the passing show.~ Joseph Goldstein, The Experience of Insight: A Simple and Direct Guide to Buddhist Meditation
As Kamala reviewed in the previous talk, mindfulness is a key balancing factor in the Five Faculties. Sally summarizes it as, “The mind that has these faculties in balance.”
Another list where mindfulness is the balancing factor is the Seven Factors of Awakening. The list starts with mindfulness. Then there are three “arousing” factors: investigation, energy, joy. And there are three “calming” factors: calm, concentration, equanimity.
Jeanne Corrigal has used a lovely analogy that describes this balance of the awakening factors. She compares the factors to a great soaring bird – like an eagle or raven. One wing of the bird represents the arousing factors, the other wing represents the calming factors. The bird’s body is mindfulness, and at the heart of the bird is kindness. If you’ve ever watched a bird soaring, it sometimes only needs to move a little feather to adjust its trajectory. The bird rides one the ever changing winds, and has this great overview of the world (another sense of equanimity).
Guided meditation: Jill Shepherd leads a mostly silent meditation, practicing choiceless awareness, with occasional instructions to check for the presence or absence of each of the seven factors of awakening: mindfulness, investigation, energy, joy, tranquility, concentration, and equanimity (about 29 minutes)
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With warm wishes,