No matter how much we prepare, life happens. We can do all the right things, take care of ourselves, and live skillfully. However, life still throws us curveballs. We need to learn how to remain stable and grounded when life is chaotic. We can experience all life has to offer, but not be so reactive to each and every experience. What if we could be content even when things don’t go our way?
This is like the principle of equanimity in Buddhism. Equanimity is the quality that allows us to remain stable and balanced in the midst of emotional experiences that are strong. Instead of getting knocked off balance, we remain grounded and present. Here are a few ways you can find stability through equanimity.
Equanimity is a principle in Buddhism that refers to the stability of the heart, especially in the midst of emotionally-charged situations. When we cultivate equanimity, we’re able to be with difficult situations without reacting so strongly.
Equanimity is not about rolling over and pretending things don’t impact us. We still experience life to its fullest, and can choose how we respond. Equanimity creates freedom. We have the opportunity to respond rather than react. Instead of just reacting and falling victim to our habits, we can choose to respond with more wisdom and patience.
Like any character quality we want to cultivate, it takes work to have more equanimity. There are many ways we can cultivate equanimity. One of the best ways is through meditation practice, which we cover in a moment.
Another great way to have more equanimity is to notice when you are not responding wisely. Tune in during your day to see what knocks you off balance. When do you lose the power to respond, and fall into reaction? What causes emotional disturbance in your life? Notice the places where you fall off balance, and see if you can come back to a grounded spot. Take a deep breath, return to the present moment, and let go.
There are many different types of Buddhist meditation, and equanimity is just one. Below is a guided equanimity practice you can try.