Mindfulness and Equanimity
In the blog category “Mindfulness Concepts”, I will elaborate on the many ideas, concepts and insights that form the basis of the amazing practice of mindfulness meditation.
Equanimity is a state of mind that is characterized by mental calmness, composure, and peace of mind in difficult situations. For most of us, these are elusive qualities. However, we can begin to develop equanimity by practicing mindfulness meditation. When we practice mindfulness, either formally or informally, we learn to observe our emotions in a non-reactive manner and to stay detached from them. We realize that our default state of mind magnifies our emotions in the midst of difficult situations thereby creating an entire additional layer of pain and suffering. Equanimity allows us to cut through that entire layer thereby allowing us to directly deal with such situations.
I had a recent experience that highlighted to me the real nature and benefits of having an equanimous mind. A few weeks prior to my writing this blog piece, I had been wrecked with a form of viral infection. I was advised to not go to work as I had fever and was coughing/sneezing all the time. At the peak of my infection, my body felt so weak in the morning that I was unable to get out of bed. I rested for a few hours and then attempted to get out. I had to exert a ton of effort just to carry out minor physical tasks.
Even after seeing a doctor and taking some medications that day, my whole body was aching that night when I went to bed. I kept tossing and turning, unable to sleep. At some point in time I looked at the clock and found that it was 02:00 a.m. in the morning. Not having slept a wink till that time, I was feeling worse than ever before. I realized that even though my body was aching, my mind need not suffer. I could cultivate an equanimous mind even though my body was feeling unwell. I made a conscious switch and turned my mind into an equanimous state. This state of mind was characterized by a combination of accepting reality as-is, letting go of the need to be comfortable all the time and being kind to oneself. Almost immediately, my mind stopped magnifying the physical troubles I was having. It rested. Very soon, there was no anxiety in my mind about not being able to sleep till that time. After a while my body also rested and I fell asleep. I woke up quite late the next morning and was feeling a little better. However, there were no lingering aftereffects of disturbed sleep the night before.
I have also practiced this switch on other occasions when in the midst of day-to-day activities. Sometimes I do find an undercurrent of anxiety or stress even though the overall situation is not difficult in any way. Making a switch to an equanimous state of mind sometimes brings about a sense of openness and rest that lingers on for an hour or two. The practice of mindfulness meditation is very helpful because it is the precisely this quality of mindfulness that enables me to detect and notice the undercurrent of anxiety or stress in most situations.
Have you had similar experiences? Do you think this practice of mindfulness and equanimity can be helpful to you? I would love to hear about your experiences. If you would like to share your experience, ask questions or provide helpful suggestions on this or any other blog post, then please fill out the contact form below. In a blog category entitled “Website content feedback” I will publish my answers to your questions as well as your suggestions and experiences wherever appropriate after receiving your permission to do so. Thank you !!!