Saturday, June 30, 2007

About equanimity

Equanimity is one of the "Four Divine Abodes" or "Sublime States". I want to call your attention to a little essay I found that is simply called "Equanimity". Here is an excerpt:
From time to time, as we are passing through various experiences, we simply "fall into" states of relative equanimity. If we are alert to this whenever it happens and use it as an opportunity to explore the nature of equanimity, then it will happen more frequently and last longer.

For example, let's say that you have been working with a physical discomfort. At some point you notice that even though the discomfort level itself has not changed, it somehow seems to bother you less. Upon investigation you realize that you have spontaneously fallen into a state of gentle matter-of-factness. By being alert to this and by exploring the state, you are training your subconscious to produce the state more frequently.
Often we think of equanimity as being associated with Buddhism but take a look at the following:
Early and Medieval Christianity placed a great value on equanimity. Indeed it was considered one of the primary Christian virtues. This is because Christianity viewed itself as a path of radical spiritual cleansing (katharsis), with equanimity as the main tool for achieving this goal. The church fathers, who wrote primarily in Greek, had three words for equanimity:

Nepsis: "Sober observation"
Ataraxia: "Freedom from upset"
Apathia: "Dispassion"(N.B. Apathia does not equal apathy!)

In Christianity, the theory of purification through equanimity constituted a major branch of spiritual study known technically as "ascetical theology."
Whatever our belief system, equanimity is a quality worthy of cultivation. It contributes deeply to happiness and to the alleviation of suffering.

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