How to Cultivate Equanimity [Audio]

How to Cultivate Equanimity by Donald Rothberg:

I want to speak on and explore the theme of equanimity this evening. So, first, a poem written for this evening. (people laughs). Perhaps, revolving March tradition. The title of the poem is Equanimity. (people laughs).

Near the time of the spring, equinox,

the balance between two suns standing still,

equal nights, equal days

remain in equanimity says ___.

Not so easy ____ to stand still.

It jumps around.

It shoots arrows first ten seconds.

It seeks to the strange, refuge

of reactive movement towards what it wants

and away to what it doesn’t want.

So we ___ in seeing the jumping, the shooting, the reacting. Mindfulness of jumping does not jump. Mindfulness of shooting does not shoot. Mindfulness of reacting does not react. Isn’t that interesting?

Equanimity starts with the one moment of awareness and ends with awareness so the one in the many moments. Let me always start again and remain at least a while in equanimity with the easy in the heart and the in between, with my body present, equanimity is more than a good idea. With my caring heart not left aside by my would-be equanimity, with my action not left behind and caught in indifference by my would-be equanimity, still caught clinging to the peace where stillness, where understanding of equanimity. With my response to the suffering of our world not left behind by my would-be equanimity. Still caught in complacency or distance or privilege while thinking of equanimity balanced yet no one, no part of my life left behind between the two suns standing still, all my days are in balance.

So this quality of equanimity is a very powerful, and sometimes it’s complex aspect of our practice. It has integrated the quality of wisdom, of the caring heart of responsiveness. Yet, it’s really the sign ___ or the, part of the nature of some of the beings that we find most beloved. There’s this equanimity of those qualities present. So, I was thinking for example of the speech that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. gave the night before he was killed.

Many of you know this speech, the one in Memphis. It’s sometimes called ___ speech. In this process, he almost say uncanny equanimity. This is what he said, I got into Memphis and some began to talk about the threats that were out. What would happen to me and some of our sick wife, brothers?

Well, I don’t know what will happen now. We’ve got some difficult days ahead. It doesn’t matter with me now, because I’ve been to the mountain top. And I don’t mind, like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Long ___ has its place, but I’m not concerned about that now.

I just want to do God’s will, and he’s allowed me to go to the mountain top. And I’ve looked over and I’ve seen the promise land. I may not get there with you, but I want you to know tonight that we as a people will get to the promise land. And I’m happy to know. And I’m not worried about anything.

I’m not fearing any man. My ___ have seen the ___ of the coming of the Lord. You know, I’ll come back to—I’ll come back to ___. He call see all, you. Maybe as you were listening to my reading, you could hear his voice.

And this is the Buddha of equanimity from the ___. As a solid ___ of rock is not disturbed by the wind, so a ___ is not moved by praise and blame. As a deep lake is clear and undisturbed. So, a ___ becomes clear upon hearing the dharma. ___ people always let go.

They don’t ___ about pleasure and desires. Touched by happiness and then by suffering. The ___ has no sign of being ___ or depressed. So this quality of equanimity involving aspects of balance, of wisdom, and compassion, of responsiveness to no matter what’s happening is a very powerful quality and in the Buddhist tradition, it’s a very sensual aspect of our practice. And ___ taken as very close to the quality of awakening.

The quality of equanimity. There are few terms. To name one that we use is ____. ____. We, perhaps you were there for a reason. You don’t know.

For the term ____ is the main one we use. It’s a term that can point to equanimity in our mindfulness practice, in our wisdom practice, and the Brahma Vihara practice. It literally means to look over, what is that suggesting is seeing without being caught in a way. And in the, you know, the colloquial tradition, you know, the everyday tradition of using the word in India, at the time of the Buddha, it had connotations of seeing with patience. So, all these connotations are there in the term patience, balance, clear seeing.

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