- by Swami Yogatirthananda Saraswati (Switzerland), From YogaMag May 2002
Fatigue and the impatience that may result from fatigue are great threats to equanimity. Awareness of mental and/or physical fatigue helps to restore equanimity either by overcoming the fatigue or by bearing calmly with the situation.
Dealing with one's own needs and desires and those of others sometimes requires a lot of juggling. If there is no balance, no compromise, then equanimity is threatened. The result may be anger, frustration, disappointment, etc.
Reaction to pressure in the form of 'mobbing' is a tremendous challenge to equanimity. Being a witness is a way out. But although there is an outward equanimity, calmness and control towards the other person, inner turmoil and hurt may persist for much longer. On the other hand, there is a reaction to support, trust and kindness. Feeling flattered is pride, is identification and not equanimity. Equanimity refers to a balanced attitude in the face of positive and negative situations. Discernment should determine any reaction to a situation. As soon as judgement creeps in, equanimity is at stake.
I was giving a language class and in the room next door a saxophone rehearsal for a concert that same evening was taking place. I had to juggle the discontent of the students, my own fatigue due to having to speak loudly, the nervousness of the young musicians before their concert and the organizers who were ill at ease. Being aware of the time factor (the situation would not last forever, but only for thirty minutes) and the fact that there was nothing that could be done to help me stay calm, I found the prayer that had helped already with absence of vanity was also very useful here:
The provoking habit of a teenager is to leave the school bag in the middle of the hall, once or twice a day. There is about a metre of distance between the habitual bag-dropping spot and the room of the teenager. My reactions vary from anything between ignoring to verbal insult – none express equanimity. Kicking the bag into the room is no solution either as even the gentlest push with the foot betrays a lack of equanimity. Repetition is the test here that equanimity has to pass, being again and again faced with the same situation.
TV is a very good test of equanimity. With the constant onslaught of information one could easily be taken through the whole gamut of emotions within a very short period of time. From devastating news to suspense to comedy TV is a mirror of everyday life and the attitude in both situations should be that of the observer. But identification with TV can be as strong as it is with everyday life situations.
Lack of organization, bad time and mind management, feeling guilty as a result, all lead to loss of equanimity. Projections, worries for the future as well as clinging to memories and the past lead to loss of equanimity. Physical pain is a challenge to equanimity, and the instant solution of medication is an attempt to avoid the challenge.
Success and failure are but two sides of the same coin and equanimity does not make a difference. Equanimity requires the awareness and patience to give emotions the time they need to be expressed, quietened or dealt with. Equanimity is the golden middle path, avoiding ups and downs and all the shades and variations in between. It is the attitude of the impartial witness, concerned yet not moved, acting without reacting. It is the expression of all the six previous ITIES (serenity, regularity, absence of vanity, sincerity, simplicity, veracity) and if their lesson had been learnt well, then equanimity could be child's play. It shows the necessity of being constantly aware and of being constantly aware of all ITIES.
For me equanimity is a difficult ITY, but this month has helped me see the importance of integrating all ITIES simultaneously. Serenity is a wonderful ITY to promote equanimity, so are absence of vanity and simplicity. I found equanimity to be a very clear expression of the witness attitude and it provides deep satisfaction and peace not only for oneself but also for those who are in contact with us.
Continue reading article here: http://www.yogamag.net/archives/2002/cmay02/ities3.shtml
Living Yoga Blog
Learn to LIVE YOGA! Welcome to our collective blog with Ashram life and traditional Yoga articles, musings and recipes for living Yoga every day.