This word came to me a week or so ago as I sat pensively awaiting answers to a question I posed to God. We had been at odds in recent years, yet I find myself turning to Him these days, as if He is my only friend and true confidant. I didn’t get the answers I sought immediately. As per the usual, I was not God’s only caller that day. I had to wait my turn. I found the word returning to me this morning during meditation. What could it possibly mean? Maybe it was an answer.
Last week, many of you saw I graduated from the Palouse Mindfulness training. While this 8 week training is free to anyone, it is anything but cheaply made or underdone. It was grueling some days and weeks. Lots of reading and video watching to learn and gain insight on mindfulness practices. That, paired with incorporating said practices into my daily routine, took commitment and perseverance. In the end, it provided much needed introspection, which I had put off years ago. This MBSR program made me make myself a priority. Thus enhancing my mental calmness, composure, and evening out my temper, especially in difficult situations. I learned to practice indifference and balance the good and bad. This doesn’t mean I lack opinions, care or concern. It means I have enhanced those aspects of my life and am able to best choose if my opinion, care and/or concern can aid any said situation. If yes, I offer my advice or services the best I am able. If not, I get to choose to allow someone else to be of service. I also discovered value of understanding my ego. When faced with any situation I want to engage helpfully, I ask: Am I doing this to help or does my ego-self need to be a hero? If it is the latter, I am offering for the wrong reasons.
Discovering my inner equanimity has opened my eyes to the true me. I was not always kind, calm, composed, or even tempered, especially in a difficult situation. I had to work at it. For years I felt the world might be out to get me, or perhaps, I was doomed. Growing up surrounded by chaos and living in a life of constantly waiting for the inevitable other shoe to drop made me cynical, angry, bitter and manipulative. These qualities were my tools for survival. My survival meant no one in and nothing out. Showing emotions was a sign of weakness. Having an opinion or ideas meant I was uppity or trying to come off better than my parents, and often lead to physical, emotional, psychological or spiritual retribution.
Practicing mindfulness and owning qualities of equanimity, now, have opened my eyes to other qualities my parents had, not just the sad, bad, haunting memories. For this I am grateful. It doesn’t mean the lessons of the bad or those events never existed, because they did, or that I would ever excuse their behaviors. It might take an entire lifetime to never let them consume me some days. Instead, I am allowing the good of it all, which was instilled within me, to illuminate the dreadfulness. In doing so, I discover the good within the bad.
Meditate on what equanimity means to you. Perhaps it is a quality and value you already, own and practice. How might you enhance this? Perhaps it is a quality you seek. How might you now be empowered to engage in your own self discovery? What lessons might you need to learn to bring calm, stillness and compassion to your life?