Upekkha | Equanimity
“I am the owner of my own karma
Happiness & unhappiness arise with my own actions
and not outside sources “
Audio: Reflections on Equanimity
MP3 | 1:15mins | 17MB
The etymological meaning of upekkha is “discerning rightly” or “viewing justly.” Equanimity is the capacity to be here in the middle-ness. It is the guardianship of our own karma and the acknowledgement that we are responsible for what we think, say and do. With equanimity practice, this sense of responsibility grows with dignity and integrity. As well, the practice of upekkha strengthens our capacity to be OK with life. Equanimity is spacious balance enabling us to work with, rather than against, change. It is equipoise, sustained presence of mind and confidence to meet all of life’s incessantly changing circumstances with increasing poise and acceptance. Equanimity dissolves away the tensions in the mind associated with the struggle between light and dark. Here in the middle-ness is an all-inclusive stance that graciously works with each juncture of the awakening process.
Indifference is the near enemy of equanimity. Indifference is the sad and tragic pretense of equanimity. It is a cold distance from a heartfelt sense of life. It is a state of utter isolation. Its impulse is towards superiority. By nature it suffers a scornful, contemptuous reaction to the beauty of the human process. Indifference blocks the potential to engage the love and freedom life has to offer.
The far enemy to equanimity is craving, clinging and attachment. As a mother of five children I have seen the inbred nature of attachment. Two craving beings come together and create another craving being. We are born to attach ourselves, to cling to the mother. It is part of the survival mechanism. Meanwhile, in delusion we continue to attach and cling to the pleasant and push away the unpleasant. Craving has us living life on demand. Equanimity is the capacity to let go-to let be. Ajahn Chah points to the practice of equanimity when he suggests that we cultivate a mind that knows how to let go. When we can let go a little, we have a little peace. When we can let go a lot, we have a lot of peace. When we can let go completely, we have complete peace. Equanimity practice cultivates a mind that knows how to let go.
Equanimity’s exemplar is the mother-child relationship as the child leaves home. The parent’s role is fulfilled, and now it is time to cut the ties that bind. She now belongs to the universe of her own karma. With a heart full of good will, compassion and appreciative joy, we stand at the threshold of her departure.