“…While with an eye made quiet by the power
Of harmony, and the deep power of joy,
We see into the life of things…”
from the poem ‘Lines Composed a Few Miles above Tintern Abbey’
The Latin word for equanimity is Aequanimitas which means ‘having an even mind’.
In Pali the word for equanimity is Upekkha which means ‘to look over’ or ‘the ability to see without being affected by what we see’.
Equanimity could also be referred to as being centred in the broader part of ourselves that is who we really are.
As when we are in alignment with who we really are, we naturally have this stability and balance of the mind, equanimity could be considered our natural state.
In the Equanimous State the Same Things Appear Different
“Ten thousand flowers in spring, the moon in autumn,
a cool breeze in summer, snow in winter.
If your mind is not clouded by unnecessary things,
this is the best season of your life.” Wu Men
In the equanimous state as we are in alignment with the broader part of who we really are, we know that all is well and that life is working out for us. It may be said therefore that in this state we are seeing the reality or the truth of things.
However, whilst the Pali definition of equanimity is ‘to not be affected by what we see’, it is important to note that the equanimous state isn’t a state in which there is no feeling or a lack of compassion. Rather, in the equanimous state there are often feelings of peace or wellbeing.
Perception Influences what is being Perceived
Not only does the world appear different in the equanimous state but also as when the mind is balanced it is at its most powerful because there aren’t contradictory thoughts, this perception of the world impacts what is being observed.
Therefore as greater equanimity is cultivated, life then presents us with more of what is wanted in our lives.
How to Cultivate the Equanimous State
Many traditions talk about the importance of meditation in developing equanimity and mediation is very beneficial as it distracts the mind from anything that is challenging us which allows our frequency to rise.
However, as the source part of us which is always equanimous is in a state of love and appreciation, by cultivating these qualities through techniques such as lists of things that we love and appreciate the mind will come into greater harmony.