|E·qua·nim·i·ty: noun; mental calmness,|
composure, and evenness of temper,
especially in a difficult situation.
“Equanimity is bigger than our usual limited perspective,” wrote Pema Chödrön in The Places That Scare You: A Guide to Fearlessness in Difficult Times.
“That we hope to get what we want and fear losing what we have — this describes our habitual predicament. The Buddhist teachings identify eight variations on this tendency to hope and fear: pleasure and pain, praise and blame, gain and loss, fame and disgrace. As long as we’re caught at one of these extremes, the potential for the other is always there. They just chase each other around.
“No lasting happiness comes from being caught in this cycle of attraction and aversion. We can never get life to work out so that we eliminate everything we fear and end up with all the goodies. Therefore the warrior-bodhisattva cultivates equanimity, the vast mind that doesn’t narrow reality into for and against, liking and disliking.
“To cultivate equanimity, we practice catching ourselves when we feel attraction or aversion, before it hardens into grasping or negativity. We train in staying with the soft spot and use our biases as stepping-stones for connecting with the confusion of others. Strong emotions are useful in this regard. Whatever arises, no matter how bad it feels, can be used to extend our kinship to others who suffer the same kind of aggression or craving — who just like us, get hooked by hope or fear. This is how we come to appreciate that everyone’s in the same boat. We all desperately need more insight into what leads to happiness and what leads to pain.”