January 29 – To stand in the middle of all this

By | January 29, 2024

Dear Friends,

As we cultivate wise samadhi in conjunction with the other path factors, we begin to develop a stability of mind and heart. Wisdom develops, as we see things as they are. The heart can meet the conditions of the world with balance, perspective, with equanimity, upekkha.

One way of describing equanimity is “to stand in the middle of all this” – not in indifference, but in alignment with the heartful qualities of metta, compassion, and joy. We take action, not out of reactivity, but from wisdom. James Baraz calls this “wise engagement”. (https://madisonmeditation.org/blog/equanimity-finding-balance-in-difficult-times)

Zohar Lavie led a meditation and talk on equanimity. In the talk, she talks about equanimity being a fruit of our practice, and also something we can intentionally cultivate, even in the moment.
Everyday Equanimity; Shifting from Reactivity to Responsiveness (85 minutes, including ~30 minute meditation, 30 minute talk, and some Q&R)

Zohar offers some reflection questions to help us open to a bigger perspective (both in the talk and in the related essay):

Lack of equanimity co-arises with a rigidity of view. Bring interest to the possibility of shifting perspective; opening to a bigger picture.

  • How am I seeing this?
  • What could be another way?
  • What if I bring to mind that everything changes over time?
  • What if I bring to mind someone else’s point of view?

Stay curious and gentle as you do this.
Feel any ease that arises as you practice in these ways.

Zohar Lavie, “Cultivating Equanimity in Daily Life”

What helps you stay steady in the midst of things?

With good wishes,