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

The first post…

It’s quite daunting starting a new blog. But one of the main reasons I’ve started it is that I’ve been like a big sponge the last 2 months reading books about healing and changing your life. Partly I want to record what I’m learning so I don’t forget things, but also to have it on record for other people to access. This has been a big journey of knowledge for me and I’ve been lucky that I’ve had the time to immerse myself in it. Each book has referenced other books, which I’ve then read, and as I’ve done so my understanding has deepened. I’ve also discovered an interest in such things as quantum healing and epigenetics that I would never have imagined myself being fascinated by before. But if all of the references help someone else to find new ways of looking at life, as I have, then I will feel that this blog has achieved what I set out to do. At the very least I can give you pointers for where to find the information for yourself.

Sometimes we just need one inspiration to set us on our way. For me, that was Louise Hay’s You Can Heal Your Life. I’d had it on my bookshelf for years and never read it and eventually took it to a charity shop a year or so ago. Then someone recommended it to me before Christmas. I ordered it from Amazon and before it arrived I discovered a talk by Louise Hay on YouTube of her basic principles of life and positive thinking. Her philosophy and affirmations pretty much saved me from going mad over Christmas when I was housebound for the second time in a year with a back problem. I have probably read the book 3 times now, in bits and pieces. A lot of people think her philosophy is a little bit simplistic or overly head-based when you want to be living more from your heart, but I can only thank her for being there when I needed some hope. The affirmations helped me remain positive when last year I was in the depths of despair. And along the way she referenced other compassionate writers such as Dr Bernie Siegel, who have inspired her, more of whom anon…

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