what is the meaning of equanimity? how to define and achieve it.
Published: 05-11-2020 - Last Edited: 06-03-2022
What if you could remain calm, centered, and at peace, meaning be in equanimity even in times of difficulty? That’s where equanimity comes in.
But what is equanimity?
Equanimity is defined as a gentle way of life, a state of conscious wisdom and freedom—the great protector of love and compassion.
Equanimity is a Buddhism concept. Buddha describes a mind filled with equanimity as abundant, exalted, immeasurable, without hostility, and without ill-will. It is pronounced “ee·kwuh·ni·muh·tee.”
The definition of equanimity is a translation of two separate Pali words, Pali being the sacred language of Theravāda Buddhism. The most common of these words is upekkha, meaning “to look over.”
The power of observation. Being able to ‘look over’ without getting caught up in the nitty-gritty creates a sense of peace and harmony. A form of gentle and calm composure, no matter what is happening in the outer world.
Those who live with equanimity means to exude a warm radiance and are pleasant and easy to be around. There is no drama or ego.
Equanimity allows us to be independent of the eight winds and remain in a balanced state of being.
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The Eight Winds
The eight winds are the enemies of us ordinary mortals, states of being that lead us toward feeling unbalanced; they filter through our defenses and influence our actions.
The eight winds are:
Becoming attached to any of the above states takes us away from equanimity and allows us to become entangled in negative emotions. A life lived independently to the eight winds is one of well-being and balance.
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Find below 3 tips to help you embrace your equanimity: ⠀
Practice daily gratitude
Every night as you get into bed, recognize 3 things you are grateful for from your day. Gratitude is a hugely powerful tool that creates inner-peace and contentment. Try it for a week, and you will notice a difference.⠀
Notice the negative thoughts, and let them go
Whenever a negative thought enters your mind, notice it, and then say or think something positive. Seeing habits that don’t serve us is the first important step to reprogramming the mind.⠀If you notice these negative thoughts, you are on the right track, and things will start to shift for the positive. Just keep at it. ⠀
Even 5 minutes a day will make a huge difference; just try it! Place the focus on your breath first, in and out, in and out. When thoughts distract you, allow them to float away without judging them or you for having them. Meditation will help to be more grounded, peaceful, and accepting of what is.
Repeat these 3 tips daily, at least once a day, and you will start to feel more peaceful and serene. Serenity is to perceive life as it is, choosing to love it just the way it is.
Recognizing when you have pulled away from the present, or triggered by an event or a person, is a great way to practice equanimity. No need to ‘try to be’ more equanimous; simply noticing the moments when you are drawn away from it is enough. If you practice regularly, it will allow you to become more peaceful, present, and calm.
One of our most outstanding late spiritual teachers, Thich Nhat Hanh, said:
“The teaching of the Buddha is the teaching of dwelling peacefully and joyfully in the present moment. If we know how to come back to the present moment, we will have happiness immediately. We will have insights. We will no longer discriminate, no longer be narrow-minded. And we can open our arms to embrace all species, all peoples, and have no enemies. Having no enemies is a wonderful thing. When we have no enemy, no reproach, no blaming, then our mind is light as a cloud.”
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