This month is all about Meaning. We spent the longest month of the year (oh was that just me… me and Courtney 🙂 looking into paths to our own truth. As we discussed, we all have many pathways to truth, and yoga ultimately believes that we all have a connected, universal, truth. These journeys to this shared space of peace and wonder may all look different, and may have a unique quality and a different meaning for each and every one of us.
One way that we work towards both meaning and truth is the practice of Equanimity. As described by Nyanaponika Thera “Equanimity is a perfect, unshakeable balance of mind.” This unshakable balance leads us to be undisturbed by what passes through, and leaves us in a space of neutrality, rather than moving to a state of reactivity. Though we are by nature reactive beings, we do have the option of slowing down, and coming to this space of harmony in the mind where we are less rattled, and even unbothered, by what happens.
As described in Buddha’s Brain the feeling of equanimity is a sensation of space. Imagine all the times you have heard us at Verapose describe this search for, or invitation of, space in the body. Rather than pushing away the bad, or trying to cling to the good, we create a sense of space, “…a buffer between you and their feeling tones.” This ability to return to neutral can be life (and in fact, brain!) changing.
A Taste of Equanimity (modified from Buddha’s Brain)
Relax yourself into your body. Take a few moments to come into contact and connection with the breath.
Notice your feelings as they arise. You may want to label them into categories: Pleasant, Unpleasant, or Neutral. Or you may wish to assign them colors that for you are representative of that particular emotion. Each of us will find more meaning in one particular strategy over another.
See if whatever floats up can we be impartial to it, can we find both acceptance and peace? Allow yourself to find a feeling of quiet, a sense of calm.
In the pleasant there is only pleasant, with no reactions attached, simply pleasant. If there is unpleasant, there is only unpleasant, , with no reactions attached, simply unpleasant. Where there is neutrality, that is what there is, nothing else. See if you can rest in this awareness. This is equanimity. Rest in it.
Being your awareness to a sense of sound, see if you can bring this same system to what you hear. Can you assign it either the words or colors as you had described above. Notice how they are constantly changing. Notice how your own sense of meaning is not connected to the value that we have placed upon that sounds that come up. Can we relate this to our thoughts as well?