Those are not very good odds. But does that keep us from arguing with what is?
Right now is there something that we don’t like, or are not satisfied with?
What is it that sticks in our throat and we can’t quite swallow?
What are we still trying to bargain or negotiate with?
When our thoughts go in those directions we lose serenity, joy and peace of mind. That’s all. Is this a loss or not?
In my mind these are huge losses. But gaining the beauty and goodness of life can be reclaimed through developing equanimity—a slow and sometimes seemingly agonizing process!
Often people think equanimity means resignation or indifference—neither of which is true. In fact these attitudes are the enemy of equanimity.
Equanimity it is the process of integrating all the events of life through acceptance. (Which is the final step of Elizabeth Kubler Ross’s 5 steps of death and dying)
It is in dying to the old that the new is born. Dying to what we believe and cherish is not an easy task, which is why we argue so heavily against it.
Every moment we make small but subtle choices in the way we see things—in our words and our actions.
These choices occur so rapidly that they usually fly under the radar. We are not usually conscious of them.
Then the results of these “unconscious” choices amaze us. We ask how this happened? It seems to have come right out of the blue.
But what is arises from all the causes and conditions that have been put into the ever so subtle, fertile energies of the universe.
And there are billions of us creating what is on this earth!
The universe grow what is planted into it.
Therefore it is vital to pay attention to what our mind is doing, even unconsciously, for it is here that we have choices—not in someone else’s mind.
We do this by slowing down and noticing how our body is feeling, and what thoughts emotions are moving through us.
For this is reality; a felt reality—not a thought reality. We pay attention to what is really going on, not believing our thoughts about it.
This practice is called mindfulness. We simply notice, and continue to notice.
This entails slowing down—and this is a choice. We note when our defenses are up (causing us to blame, argue, feel sorry for ourselves or sulk).
By noting when our defensive nature has risen, we can make a different choice.
We don’t need to argue with how we are feeling, only breathe deeply, notice, and be willing to bring kindness to this moment—even this—as best we can.
I look for signs of feeling sorry for myself or for others. Pity. Blame. Remorse. Sadness. Loneliness.
My ego finds all this uncomfortable. As Dr. Carl Jung has said, “A victory for the “Self” will always be a defeat for the “self.”
There is a small self that believes it is separate, and a larger Real Self that feels and knows it is connected to all that is.
It is in gradually opening to the larger Self that brings new ideas and real freedom.
We are no longer caught up and bound in the tight container of negative emotions. We have created space for something more beautiful.
By saying “And this, too,” we can breathe and open ever wider, making ourselves large enough to accept even this.
We become inclusive, rather than exclusive.
After all, whatever has occurred has occurred. It has happened.
Arguing with it, or refusing to allow it is a losing gesture.
As this new breath of creative energy moves through us we feel more spacious and can make more effective choices, for we have opened to the great mystery of life. And who doesn’t love a mystery?
That is, unless we want answers—and now. When we want specific outcomes, we suffer, for we are worried and anxious.
Wanting something, yearning for some particular outcome, is a losing strategy.
This goes against current beliefs about goal setting. I believe it is much more effective to set intentions rather than goals.
Goals are future oriented. Intentions are choices we make in the present moment.
It is vital to develop the capacity to meet the inevitable losses in life. When we continue to yearn for what is not here, we suffer immeasurably.
The path of equanimity is here for us at any time. It requires self-reflection, restraint and the ability to shift gears—to go in another direction while not bypassing how we feel at the moment.
Awareness of each feeling, emotion and thought, without becoming entangled in them is necessary. And then bringing kindness to however we feel each moment.
This is the slow development of the art of balance, where one doesn’t take sides, but can be with each view point as fully as possible.
We can say, “This is the way it is for now. And it will change.”
There is a deep place within us that can hold all opposing sides understanding that events have occurred because of causes and conditions that were set in motion. Thus each moment could not be otherwise.
This is acceptance.
The divine and human are on opposite poles. Yet we can hold them both as what is. Both are here, the Absolute and the Relative.
This is a divinely human place, where the human and the divine work together to support each other.
Here is where the new is born.
We might even see life as a game. It’s “dealer’s choice” and we are the dealer. God (universal energy) is the deck, and we have no control of which card shows up. It’s all in the play of causes and conditions.
We only choose how we play the game! And this makes all the difference.