This is an extraordinary time and I know I have been riding waves of disbelief and loss, feelings of fear and numbness, anxiousness, kind of shut down and immobilized at times, or restless and agitated. And threaded through this changing landscape are moments of surrender, of letting go, of acceptance, peace and even joy. The capacity to hold in our awareness the non dual nature of our experiences is a skill that many wisdom teachings and practices help us grow: to hold in a wider lens both effort and ease, suffering and joy, destruction and growth. Finding the middle path of equanimity is, for me. a commitment to life-long practice, not something to attain. Here is an excerpt of one of Jack Kornield's books:
"The near enemy of equanimity is indifference or callousness. We may appear serene if we say, “I’m not attached. It doesn’t matter what happens anyway, because it’s all transitory.” We feel a certain peaceful relief because we withdraw from experience and from the energies of life. But indifference is based on fear. True equanimity is not a withdrawal; it is a balanced engagement with all aspects of life. It is opening to the whole of life with composure and ease of mind, accepting the beautiful and terrifying nature of all things. Equanimity embraces the loved and the unloved, the agreeable and the disagreeable, the pleasure and pain. It eliminates clinging and aversion. Although everything is temporary and dreamlike, with equanimity we nevertheless honor the reality of form. As Zen master Dogen says, “Flowers fall with our attachment, and weeds spring up with our aversion.” Knowing that all will change and that the world of conditioned phenomena is insubstantial, with equanimity we are able to be fully present and in harmony with it." Bringing Home the Dharma: Awakening Right Where You Are, by Jack Kornfield
The quest for equanimity is not to escape or deny, but to embrace fully what is present in our embodied experience. Mindfulness practices help us find release from the constrictions of cognitions and the narratives we replay in our attempts to help us understand and give meaning to our experience. The practices instead direct us to the sensed experience of impermanency and changing landscape, and find within the anchor of being, deepening to equanimity of nature, the balance and harmony within.
Here are some resources offered by master teachers from whom I continue to learn and practice with:
Jill Davey and other teachers True North Insight Jack Kornfield and Tara Brach Jon Kabat Zinn Wisdom 2.0 Insight Meditation Society Meditation Society Tricycle Articles: Grieving during a Pandemic The Discomfort You are Feeling is Grief
Here are beautiful words from another gifted writer and teacher, that comforted and inspired me:
Solitude is one of the most precious things in the human spirit. It is different from loneliness. When you are lonely, you become acutely conscious of your own separation. Solitude can be a homecoming to your own deepest belonging. One of the lovely things about us as individuals is the incommensurable in us. In each person, there is a point of absolute nonconnection with everything else and with everyone. This is fascinating and frightening. It means that we cannot continue to seek outside ourselves for things we need from within. The blessings for which we hunger are not to be found in other places or people. These gifts can only be given to you by yourself. They are at home at the hearth of your soul. JOHN O'DONOHUE Excerpt from the book, Anam Cara Ordering Info: https://johnodonohue.com/store
May you be well, may you be safe, may you be peaceful and at ease, may you be compassionate with whatever arises, and may you live in the embrace of loving kindness,