Spring is all around us! The colors of the leaves on the trees are illuminous, the spring bulbs are radiant in their colour diversity, warmth is creeping into the sunshine, the birds are singing their songs loudly from early in the morning, and there is a softness and lightness that starts to show itself on people's faces and in their manner of being, as well as a sense of relief of moving into the warmer months. Mother Nature is so profound in her ability to return renewed each spring, with power, beauty and lightness, as if immediately forgiving the harsh winter. Then there are those days when the cold and wet returns, and it is harder to stay light.
How can we adapt to change whether "good" or "bad"? How can we embody this forgiving quality of nature in our own way of being? Perhaps through embracing Equanimity into our daily lives? Being a part of everything that arises in our daily lives, without being disturbed by it, and without judging it. We are always practicing and accomplishing simultaneously, regardless of what we are doing or not doing.
The Tibetan verb drupa, is commonly translated as "to practice", and also means "to accomplish". When a contemplative is practicing meditation, he/she is also accomplishing mindfulness. Practice and achievement are one and the same.
Whether you are meditating, resting, walking, dancing, listening to music, sharing with others....it can all be good for the heart, the body and the mind. Even challenging situations which we know help us to evolve, contribute to all of life's experiences becoming suffused with spiritual practice. Tapping into this inner source of genuine well-being, can dissipate any sense of loneliness, depression, or mental unease...at any time. We choose it. What are you choosing in this moment? Pause. Soften. Ask yourself....
"The cultivation of equanimity means learning to regard everyone with impartiality. No one is a stranger...This is a capacity we can all unveil." Alan Wallace
Meditation on Equanimity (by Alan Wallace) Find a comfortable position, keeping your spine straight. Settle your body in its grounded rest state, imbued with the three qualities of relaxation, stillness, and vigilance (if possible, keep your eyes softly open). Attend to your breath for a few moments...
Bring to mind a person you know well, whose background and living circumstances are familiar to yours but who is neither a friend nor an enemy. Attend to this person. This person, like yourself, is striving for happiness and freedom from pain, fear, and insecurity. Focus on this person and shift your awareness to view the world from her eyes. From this point of view, look back on yourself. Regardless of the distinct defects or excellent qualities this person might have, her yearning for happiness and wish to be free from pain and grief are identical to your own. Even though she is not close to the center of your personal universe, her well-being is no less significant than that of a dear loved one whom you may regard as crucial to your happiness.
Now bring to mind a person you feel is crucial to your well-being, a person for whom you have both affection and attachment. Attend closely to this loved one, and shift your awareness to the viewpoint of that person so that you perceive him as a human being like yourself, with both defects and excellent qualities. From this viewpoint, realize that although you are loved by some people, a great number of people feel indifferently toward you, and there also may be some people who don't like you. This person for whom you feel affection and attachment feels her own desires, hopes, and fears. Now step back and attend to this person from the outside. This person is not a true source of your happiness, security, or joy, which can only arise from your own heart and mind.
Next bring to mind a person who may be intent on bringing your harm or depriving you of happiness, a person with whom you feel conflict. As before, imagine stepping into this person's perspective, being this person from the inside, and experiencing her hopes and fears. Fundamentally, this person, like yourself, wishes to find happiness and freedom from suffering. Now, step back and attend to her from outside with the realization that she is not the source of your distress or anxiety. If you feel uneasy or angry in relationship to this person, the source is in your own heart, not in the other person.
Realize that there is nothing inherent in the stranger, in the loved one, nor in the foe that makes the other person fall into one category or another. Circumstances change, relationships change, and it is the flux of circumstances that gives rise to the thoughts "this is my enemy" or "this is my loved one". Expand the field of awareness to embrace everyone in your immediate environment, their hopes, fears, aspirations, and yearnings. Each person is as important as all others. Shifting circumstances bring us together and also cause us to part. Expand your field of awareness out over the whole community, reaching out in all directions, including everyone. Recognize that each person is fundamentally like yourself, and virtually everyone feels himself to be the center of his world.
Imagine the pure depths of your own awareness, unsullied by the obscurations of self-centered attachment and aversion, as an orb of radiant white light at your heart. With each exhalation, let this light spread out evenly in all directions to all persons with the yearning, "May each one, including myself, find happiness. May everyone, including myself, be free of suffering and the causes of suffering." Imagine a flood of light going out in all directions, soothing those who are distressed and bringing healing, happiness, and a sense of well-being to everyone. With each inhalation, draw in the distress and causes of unhappiness and pain of each sentient being. Imagine this as a dark cloud that dissolves into the light at your heart, and imagine all beings free of suffering and its causes.
Before you bring this session to a close, rest for a moment without bringing anything to mind. Settle your awareness in its own nature, with no object and with no subject. This is the even-mindedness that is a fertile foundation for all spiritual practices.