Cultivating Equanimity for oneself, loved ones and benefactors
In the blog category “Guided Meditations”, I will provide detailed explanations for all the guided meditation tracks that I will place in the Resources section of this website. These blog posts will be hyperlinked from the “Guided Meditations” page under “Resources” menu option where these meditation tracks in mp3 format will be placed for streaming or for downloading.
Equanimity is a balanced state of mind, a mind that does not get swayed by external circumstances. It is like really meaning “I am happy to be here”. It is considered to be one of the 4 Divine Abodes or Brahma Viharas. In many ways, Equanimity sets the stage for the remaining 3 Divine Abodes of Loving Kindness, Compassion and Sympathetic Joy.
The 4 Divine Abodes can be understood at many distinct levels. They are inherent and universal qualities of the human heart. They are unique and distinct states of mind. Finally, they can be objects of mind cultivation.
In particular circumstances when we have no role in the welfare of others, Equanimity is the wish that we ourselves not become agitated while keeping our hearts open and responsive, perhaps available for when we can help. Each time these intentions are evoked they become stronger and more readily available to motivate our actions in the world.
The best way to cultivate Equanimity is to bring our mind back to the fluid nature of our selves and the world, the dreamlike quality of appearances. Everything is changing all the time.
Equanimity is very important for us to develop because despite our very strong wishes and desires for everyone to be happy and peaceful, we will still see masses of people suffering. I will provide teo brief examples below:
According to International Rescue Committee; towards the end of 2021, 80 million people are designated as refugees. They are displaced from their countries of origin because of war, violence, persecution and other emergencies. The total has doubled in the past decade.
According to the Global Cancer Observatory, 10 million people died of cancer in 2020. Worldwide, the total number of people who are alive within 5 years of a past cancer diagnosis, the 5-year prevalence, is estimated to be 50.6 million.
These are staggering numbers that make us aware of the tremendous suffering that the mass of humanity is currently facing. It is very easy to quickly get overwhelmed at this level of suffering. The 4 Brahma Viharas in general and Equanimity in particular provides a kind of resiliency that allows us to deal with massive human suffering in a skillful way that opens our hearts.
The easiest way to practice and cultivate Equanimity is to direct it towards ourselves, our loved ones and benefactors. This guided meditation serves exactly that purpose. We sit comfortably, relax our bodies and settle into our posture. I will then repeat some traditional phrases of Equanimity. In the short period of silence that follows each phrase, we repeat these phrases a few times to ourselves and breathe in these qualities. If we notice that our mind has wandered off, we will gently bring it back to this practice.
We will then call to mind someone we love, someone who has helped us, someone for whom a sense of care, love and goodwill naturally arises in our heart. It can be our partner, our parents, our children, our grandchildren or even pets. We get an image of them and say their names to ourselves. We get a feeling of their presence, and offer the phrases of Equanimity to them, wishing for them what we wish for ourselves.
We then bring to our minds all the people whom we have ever loved and cared for in any role or capacity. We call to mind all the people who have ever helped us; all the people for whom a sense of care, love and goodwill naturally arises in our heart. We will then offer phrases of Equanimity to all of them, wishing for all of them what we wish for ourselves.
This meditation track is available in the “Guided Meditation” page that can be accessed from the “References” menu option. Please feel free to either stream these exercises or click on the “Download” button to download the mp3 files to your computers or mobile devices.
May you be happy !!!
May you be peaceful !!!
May you live with ease !!!
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