I recently came upon a term called equanimity, which means your mind is not swayed by external events and you do not let situations dictate the state of your mind.  It’s a state of calming balance, and inner peace.  The whole concept is that everything is impermanent, feeling good, feeling bad, feeling pleasure/pain, getting praise/blame, and success vs. failure.  That all are essential in human life, and none of them are permanent.  It is this realization that can put you on the path towards equanimity.  I believe this is a very strong goal to strive for, having myself remain calm even under stressful circumstances or when something does not go my way.

It is not a state of indifference, but a state of intense realization.  You do not have any stock in your current circumstances because you know they can change at any moment, and you are content with that.  You accept everything the way it is and don’t get caught by pressures put on you by society.  You don’t have to react.  You just don’t.

There are ten perfections in Buddhism, the first nine leading up to the coveted tenth, equanimity.  Here are them and a brief description of each:

  1. Generosity:  Develop your capacity for generosity.  Make it so your disposition or nature is to be generous.
  2. Integrity:  Develop your integrity, do not seek to harm any other living being.  Make it so the ethical foundation of your life is stable, solid, and unruffled.
  3. Letting Go:  Develop the capacity to let go, for example, to let go of a grudge, because when you let go of the things that trouble you, you can do deeper thinking.  A simpler mind can do deeper work.
  4. Wisdom:  Develop a capacity for wisdom.  Become a wise man, not a wise guy.  Be discerning, whatever that means.  I’ll have to look it up.
  5. Energy:  Develop a capacity for overcoming laziness, procrastination, and interia, be able to put in the effort.
  6. Patience:  Develop a capacity for patience.  If you are now putting in effort, it is possible to get frustrated, so this perfection is based on not getting frustrated when things don’t always work the way they should. 
  7. Truth:  Develop a capacity to be truthful and know what is true to you.  Be in harmony with what you feel is true.
  8. Resolve:  Resolve to do things and have the capacity to get behind it, no matter what external forces tell you.
  9. Love and Kindness:  Develop a capacity for love and kindness and be kind and loving towards everything and everyone you come into contact with.
  10. Equanimity:  The final step.  Develop a capacity of equanimity.  This is the culmination of the other nine steps.  All of these steps are part of your character building and this is the final step.  This is the pinnacle.  You are not ruffled by external events, as I explained above.

So, that’s the basic outline of equanimity.  I think it is a rather good goal.  I am striving towards it every day and it couldn’t hurt to do so.  All of these qualities are qualities I would love to see in myself, so there is no conflict in me doing this.  I listened to a talk about this, referred from a poster on Steve Pavlina’s site.  I really enjoyed the talk, and if I can find the link, I’ll get it to you.  Happy trails!

Edit:  I found this talk on equanimity very helpful.  Here it is, if the link does not work, I can refer you to this site.  It’s the Steve Pavlina discussion board, where the member Mike-2 brings this talk up.  I sure hope you enjoy it.  Thank you.


9 Responses to Equanimity

  1. Liara Covert says:

    I think its good to establish lofty goals that motivate us to better ourselves. In my mind, equanimity is a kind of emotional stability or composure, the idea of feeling in control of my emotions and choosing to focus on building positive character traits.

    It’s strange perhaps that societies and religions often condition human beings to feel ignorant about what is important in nature and the functions of their world. We may feel like we don’t know ourselves well enough, like we may not have all the skills or experience we need to be successful, like happiness and perfection are meant to remain beyond our grasp. We’re taught that feeling smart and solving mysteries leads to self-deception.

    At the same time, always making the logical or prudent choice may then prevent us from following our passions. I have to say I’ve been pleased with the results of choices where I haven’t always followed what others would describe as “the prudent path.” I think of Christopher Paolini’s story of Eragon and how different this boy’s life would’ve been if he hadn’t used instincts or made choices based in part on emotions. We have the choice to focus on positive or negative or not judge at all. That’s a real challenge.

  2. I may have been a buddhist in my former life, for although I’ve never heard that word before, it’s exactly how I would describe my behaviour. I wouldn’t say I’ve perfected it, but no matter how indiffirent I might have been thought of by others, it has always felt totally intuitive to me to strive for that goal and it has always went through those nine “perfections”, which shape its strength. Thanks for bringing that up. I’ll go and look more into Buddhism now… =)

  3. […] anything to you on a mental/emotional level. Comedy and Humor blogger Andrew Brunelle wrote a more in-depth post about this state on his […]

  4. […] is where equanimity enters into the equation. Over at The Probabilist as well as The Comedy and Humor Blog, there are excellent descriptions of equanimity and how it enters into your […]

  5. […] is where equanimity enters into the equation. Over at The Probabilist as well as The Comedy and Humor Blog, there are excellent descriptions of equanimity and how it enters into your […]

  6. […] your experience. Ask yourself what is my mission? I’ve found the practice and cultivation of equanimity can be helpful here as it can nurture innovation and promote open-minded thinking. How we think […]

  7. Lorri Ghan says:

    Word for the day: Equanimity

  8. El matrimonio es una ordenanza de la creación…

    […]Equanimity « Comedy and Humor Blog[…]…

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