Thursday, October 13, 2005

More on equanimity

Here's another passage from Vipassana Meditation by William Hart. This addresses the question about whether letting go of judgment will make us uncaring or passive:

No matter what arises, whether within the microcosm of one's own mind and body or in the world outside, one is able to face it - not with tension, with barely suppressed craving and aversion - but with complete ease, with a smile that comes from the depths of the mind. In every situation, pleasant or unpleasant, wanted or unwanted, one has no anxiety, one feels totally secure, secure in the understanding of impermanence. This is the greatest blessing.
The absence of craving or aversion does not imply an attitude of callous indifference, in which one enjoys one's own liberation but gives no thought to the suffering of others. On the contrary, real equanimity is properly called "holy indifference." It is a dynamic quality, an expression of purity of mind. When freed of the habit of blind reaction, the mind for the first time can take positive action which is creative, productive, and beneficial for oneself and for all others. Along with equanimity will arise the other qualities of a pure mind: good will, love that seeks the benefit of others without expecting anything in return; compassion for others in their failings and sufferings; sympathetic joy in their success and good fortune. These four qualities are the inevitable outcome of the practice of [insight meditation].

"Holy indifference" is the attitude St. Ignatius teaches, by the way, in the Spiritual Exercises - that great foundational practice of the Jesuits. It is that grace-filled ability to accept whatever happens with equanimity and a focus on one's deep and abiding values.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous1:51 PM

    For anyone, like me, who was unfamiliar with St. Ignatius and the Spiritual Exercises, a synopsis of them can be found at


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