How to Experience the Bliss of Equanimity: I am Yourself Singing
What is Equanimity?
Equanimity, a universal quality, can be experienced by a human being as a state that remains stable, composed and undisturbed regardless of influences which may storm against the individual. Beyond its definition as even-tempered, equanimity is a natural harmonic that always exists and cannot be attained through technique or training.
Equanimity is nothing to be manipulated, and when in a constant state of equanimity an individual cannot be manipulated. As one works harder towards equanimity, barriers are raised within a person from the mind and emotions interacting with the surroundings. It can be experienced instead by letting go of resistance, surrendering to what is beyond the persona and allowing equanimity to "happen."
In a state of pure equanimity, there are no desires or identification with personal character. The writer has experienced the bliss of equanimity as a happening, a few times in his life, when he surrendered his wantings and will to his Higher Self. One notable 'happening' occurred under unlikely circumstances on the Hawaiian island of Maui. This is his story:
Bliss and Abundance in the Junkyard
With the changing of the seasons, rain clouds appeared more frequently. They blew in from the Pacific and gathered along the mountain ridge. Our tent was pitched in a floodplain and heavy rain was predicted. It was time to leave Hana and the jungle. Walking by the town bulletin board, we caught sight of a poster announcing an event. An internationally known author would be speaking at the university in the city, 'on the other side' as the locals said.
We hitched rides out and spent the first night in the city in our sleeping bags behind a park bench on campus. With young people taking drugs on the bench above us, police cars turning their lights on us, loud party music nearby and swarms of mosquitoes descending through the night, we had two choices. Either we could give in to the seemingly endless torture and become frantic or focus on quiet breathing that would lead us back into peace. We chose the latter.
The next evening we left the auditorium not really refreshed by the speech. Our packs felt heavy like the unfulfilled desires we had carried into this occurrence. Our money was not enough to rent a motel room and we had not yet heard from intuition. Drained and without direction, we walked for hours through the streets of Kahului until finally we saw a deli. We decided to spend our last money for a sandwich with tea.
The air conditioned room and food felt soothing to our bodies. But looking out of the window, we saw that the sun was low in the sky. We needed to find a campsite before dark and went back to the streets. After some blocks, we were walking alongside a hedge when there came an opening. Curious, we entered the space between but were shocked to see a scrap metal junkyard and old industrial buildings. Kati, totally exhausted, sat down and said, “I cannot move on anymore and for what.”
In that moment, the last sun beams hit an old copper-toned metal shield and the light around us turned radiant, golden and beautiful. We asked ourselves, “What is really important in life?” Almost at the same time, we said, “To see and feel the love we are in everything”
Just as these words were spoken, our bodies felt rejuvenated. A sense of renewal and serenity pulsated through our vessels. Words became unnecessary and with a telepathic understanding we found a space within a thicket of weeds where our tent would be well hidden from the street.
That night, pitch black outside, it seemed the radiance of the earlier sunset came into the tent with us. There, in the midst of the trash and smell of the industrial area, our tent pitched among the weeds, with no money to our name, we entered a state of bliss. We were beyond happy and content, and for no apparent reason.
With innocence in our hearts, like newborns, we fell soundlessly asleep. The junk yard was, with our surrender, a gateway into the magic of life where we felt totally nourished without the stress of need and striving that desires bring.
Heart Longings and Service to Life
How is it possible to experience the bliss of equanimity (without sleeping in a junk yard)?
The heart longing to experience equanimity as a constant presence is a powerful focus and motivator on the path of personal development or conscious evolution.
There is a distinction between being driven by wantings or cravings of the insatiable ego and being guided and compelled by a longing of the heart. The heart longing always guides towards service to Life.
Also, there is a distinction to be made in understanding 'service to Life,' as it does not mean serving the persona, but serving Life in a more universal way and from a perspective of wholeness. This is contrary to serving the neediness and demands of the ego and rather is a path of living the qualities of universal love.
Equanimity is the very nature of the Higher Self. Experiencing this quality brings more of the Higher Self, an aspect of the larger human psyche, into the body.
Walking the adventure path towards equanimity in service to life is something like playing a video game with traps and challenges. Here the traps include becoming overly identified with dogmas or traditions, or anything that puts the power outside oneself. For the unaware, joining a group or following a teacher hold traps of tribal suffering, dependency and ego inflation.
The persona likes to compose mental constructs which counterfeit what is real and trap a person to believe its deception. In this game, the ego could be called the opponent. Yet, making it an enemy and feeding it with attention only makes it stronger. One's intent and heart longing for equanimity will collapse the barriers to experiencing it. Intuition is a sure and steadfast guide. For more, see the hub Intuition: the Voice of Yourself Singing.
When one is in a state of equanimity, it is no longer defined as such. Without having another human as a keen and honest observer to mirror oneself, to point out the self-delusions, how can one be aware of what he is not aware?
As Khalil Gibran wrote, "Knowledge of the self is the mother of all knowledge. So it is incumbent on me to know my self, to know it completely, to know its minutiae, its characteristics, its subtleties, and its very atoms."
How many people are willing to know themselves this intimately and honestly? It is painful to the ego, the mental construct which fears annihilation, yet an orgasm of ecstasy to the whole person, to know Oneself.
A method of self-measure is found in the balance between shadow behaviors and qualities of universal love. Are the shadows diminishing? Are the qualities of Love expanding? How often are thoughts dominated by judgment, manipulation, smallness of self? How easily are emotional reactions triggered or pains of regret felt? And how regularly do the qualities of Love - such as confidence, compassion, courage - warm the body from within, with an expanding and undisturbed radiance?
Another way to know one's true psychological-spiritual state is to bring awareness into the body. Does it feel emotionally cold? Is the stomach in knots? Maybe it is time to loosen up and let 'the Energy' run through.
It is one thing to feel a warm glow in oneself, another to bring it into the world. One definition of equanimity states that it is "a state of psychological stability and composure which is undisturbed by experience of or exposure to emotions, pain or other phenomena..." Equanimity is equanimity only if it remains when its human vessel is challenged - whether by everyday life or extraordinary catastrophe. A constant presence of equanimity is the treasure of Oneself.