Equanimity

Seeking the heart of wisdom

This is the book by Joseph Goldstein and Jack Kornfield about insight meditation that I’ve only really dipped into, but I was re-reading a chapter about equanimity which seems quite apt at the moment for me. JK describes equanimity as a mountain that remains unwavering despite snow, lightning, rain. He says equanimity is being able to remain centered and unmoved no matter what happens.

“Equanimity is developed as we learn to keep our heart open through the changing circumstances of our life… A profound equanimity arises as we release our identification with this body-mind process.” Rather than greeting challenging experiences with fear or anxiety we accept that these are only temporary states. He says shamans call it Shamanic Equilibrium, which allows the shaman to travel to even the extreme realms of pain and death without fear of difficulty.

This echoes a quote that I have as my wallpaper on my laptop:

“Faith includes noticing the mess, the emptiness, the discomfort and letting it be there until some light returns.” Anne Lamott.

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This has helped me through many difficult times this year. At the moment, I feel as if I’ve gone backwards: the back problems that have prevented me from doing so much the last 2 years and kept me housebound, seem to be finally dissipating, but at the same time the problems with my jaw and skull that make me feel like a zombie and unable to concentrate have got worse. I’ve been feeling exhausted and stressed and this week my head felt like it was going to explode. The vicious circle is that I know that to ease the pressure I need to see an osteopath, but every time I’ve seen an osteopath in the last 2 years I’ve ended up housebound.. In the meantime, I have to accept that this state is only temporary: One day I will be able to read and see clearly, I will be able to ride my bike and go abroad, but for now, I have to rest and accept that this is part of the journey to finding a new way of living, a new me. I often think of someone once saying to me that it is unrealistic of me to think the path of healing will be an easy one, anything worth having has to be worked for. That comforts me when I’m struggling.

p 76 “Equanimity is a quality of mind and heart…that allows one to meet every experience with both strength and a softness or fluidity that doesn’t get caught by circumstances. To discover its great power within is one of the great joys of practice.” J Kornfield

Your body is the manifestation of your own spirit

Caroline Myss – Anatomy of the Spirit

It’s been quite a while since I’ve written – work getting in the way!

This quote above is from Anatomy of the Spirit by Caroline Myss, which I’ve just started reading after I was recommended it and since I’ve mentioned it to lots of people I’ve realised how many of them are familiar with her work. Like lots of the other books I’ve been reading, it talks about how our emotional state affects our physical health. However this book goes even deeper and approaches things from a much more spiritual point of view. It makes a link between the traditional spirituality of the 7 chakras in Hinduism, the 7 sacraments of Christianity and the Tree of Life of the Kabbalah and our own health and spirituality.

Caroline Myss is a medical intuitive who can intuit what is physically wrong with a person, even without meeting them. But she will then be able to tell them what they need to do in their life emotionally or spiritually to heal the physical problems. She gives the power back to the individual though, as all good healers do, and does not heal people but just gives them advice. it is then up to that person whether they are willing to change their lifestyle/diet/job/relationship etc. She also says that she can teach people to be intuitive about their own health and energy in this way. I’ll let you know more when I’ve read more! Hopefully I can find out what’s going on with my back!

For me though, it’s one of the clearest and easiest to understand descriptions of how the chakras function in our lives and the problems they cause if they are not functioning well and what we can do to remedy that. I find that that is the beauty of Caroline Myss – she approaches what is very esoteric work in a down-to-earth practical way that anyone can understand and doesn’t couch it in lots of floaty, hippy language.

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I love the way that she says that our biography becomes our biology – that makes so much sense. I.e every thought we have, every action we take affects our physical and emotional make-up by causing a chemical reaction. If you are trapped in a situation that makes you feel stressed or unhappy and you don’t get out of it, you will become physically ill eventually.

“Illnesses develop as a consequence of behavioural patterns and attitudes that we do not realise are biologically toxic until they have already become so. Only when illness forces us to review our attitudes do we come close to comprehending that our day-to-day fearful or bitter attitudes are, in fact, biologically negative substances.” …”To create disease, negative emotions have to be dominant, and what accelerates the process is knowing the negative thought to be toxic but giving it permission to thrive in your consciousness anyway.”

So she is not saying that we consciously create our illness but we do participate in the process somewhat.

I could quote endlessly from this amazing book, but I won’t – read it for yourself! Have a great day.