7.1 – Staying Calm in the Midst of Chaos

Lesson 14 Chapter 7

Hi. Today, we're going to talk about equanimity. So, what does this word mean?

Essentially, equanimity is the ability to maintain your calm or maintain your inner peace, regardless of what's going on in the world around you.

So, whether the environment is noisy and chaotic, or whether you're going through some frustrating experience, the ability to stay calm, to maintain that inner peace, to not react with frustration, or anger, or hatred, but just keeping that in our balance.

This is equanimity.

So take a moment to think of someone who has this quality of equanimity.

It can be someone from your life, or even a fictional character from a book you've read, or a movie you've watched.

Someone who's able to keep a level head, or to maintain calm under pressure.

Thinking of this person can be a great way to conjure up the feeling of equanimity, this inner balance, and can help inspire us to practice because this is what we're going for.

We want to cultivate this ability to stay calm, regardless of how chaotic our environment gets.

Now, on a technical level, at least in terms of meditation, equanimity means, “not reacting to anything with craving or aversion”, but just observing what's going on.

So to practice equanimity there's actually two ways; one is just naturally calling up this quality, calling up this nonreactive quality of just observing without reacting with craving or aversion.

The other way is, using a short phrase, similar to how we steadied our attention with the breath we used that phrase, “rising and falling”, with equanimity, we can use a different phrase to, again, just help conjure up the feeling of equanimity.

And this phrase is, “right now, it's like this” or, “this is how it is, right now”.

And so what we're doing with this phrase, is actually just cultivating an acceptance of the present moment, as it is.

And, if you can say this in your mind with a calm voice, then you can actually start to cultivate a little bit of that feeling of equanimity.

So, for example, if you are noticing a lot of distraction in your mind, and you just pause and say, “Ah, right now, it's like this…” or, let's say you're having pain in the body, and you can bring your attention to pain and say, “Oh, right now, it's like this.”

So, what we're doing is cultivating this ability to notice what's going on, without reacting with craving or aversion.

So, in the guided practice today, we're going to continue with mindful breathing and what we've learned so far, and we're just going to add in some of this equanimity practice.

So, when you're ready, go ahead and click on the next video.


Acceptance of our Circumstance (Mindfulness Worksheet)