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What is equanimity?

What is equanimity?

From November 16 to the 30th, 2023, I had the opportunity to do a presentation in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam on the importance of Team Coaching in Business and traveled through Vietnam and Cambodia on a Mekong River cruise.  It was an opportunity to keep learning about Hinduism, Buddhism, and local cultures.  I would like to focus on one of the ideas that I was reminded of on the trip which is the idea of equanimity.  I learned it originally in my Vipassana meditation training and I consider it to be a source of wisdom, calmness in difficult situations, serenity, and inner peace.

According to Buddhism, there are four sublime attitudes to be demonstrated:

  • Love or Loving-kindness (metta)
  • Compassion (karuna)
  • Sympathetic Joy (mudita)
  • Equanimity (upekkha)

Equanimity is the ability to understand the impermanence of all experiences: negative as well as positive. Since all will pass, we may choose not to get attached to any experience. Equanimity is not a thought or an emotion, it is the steady conscious realization of reality’s transience.

I invite you to reflect on your life and identify your triggers. What are the things that make you angry, upset, frustrated, or sad?  What are your fears? Is there an opportunity to look at these experiences from a different perspective? How do you think you may feel about this issue you have in front of you ten years from now? If you look at what upsets you from a different angle, can you see something different?

Let me share a personal experience. This year, I had the opportunity to be engaged in publishing as a co-author of three books.  In one of the books, there was a mistake in the acknowledgment section. Only half of the people that needed to be recognized made it into the book.  That made me feel embarrassed, upset, and disappointed with myself, my colleagues, and the book editor. Then, I had the choice to hold onto that experience or forgive myself and everybody else and find a new meaning in the experience. The book will be corrected in the next edition but equanimity is not allowing that experience to linger. The faster we let go of the meaning and blaming, the faster we may be able to recuperate the serenity that the equanimity offers us.

How do we develop equanimity?  It can be cultivated through meditation, which can help to train the mind in developing and maintaining a state of composure, peace, and balance in all sorts of experiences.

I would like to invite you to cultivate equanimity in your life. Holidays are a good time to reflect on our life, celebrate successes, and learn from our mistakes.  One of my hopes for our new year is to bring more equanimity to our lives.

The picture was taken on November 23, 2022,  at Hanchey Temple, Kampong Siem, Cambodia. Check our newsletter

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