Equanimity

Equanimity

Equanimity refers to a state of being calm and balanced, especially in the midst of difficulty.

In Buddhism, equanimity (in Pali, upekkha; in Sanskrit, upeksha) is one of the Four Immeasurables or four great virtues that the Buddha taught his disciples to cultivate.

  • compassion

  • loving kindness

  • sympathetic joy

  • equanimity

 

But is being calm and balanced all there is to equanimity?

And how does one develop equanimity?

Laughing Raven of Pixabay. Used With Permission.

Laughing Raven of Pixabay. Used With Permission.

Thich Nhat Hanh says (in The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching, p. 161) that the Sanskrit word upekshameans “equanimity, nonattachment, nondiscrimination, even-mindedness, or letting go. Upa means ‘over,’ and iksh means ‘to look.’ You climb the mountain to be able to look over the whole situation, not bound by one side or the other.”

Standing in the Middle

Another Pali word that is translated into English as “equanimity” is tatramajjhattata, which means “to stand in the middle.” Gil Fronsdal says this “standing in the middle” refers to a balance that comes from inner stability; remaining centered when surrounded by turmoil.

We are constantly being pulled in one direction or another by things or conditions we either want or hope to avoid. These include praise and blame, pleasure and pain, success and failure, gain and loss. The wise person, accepts all without approval or disapproval.¹ – The Buddha

 

Cultivating Equanimity 

In her book Comfortable with Uncertainty, Tibetan Kagyu teacher Pema Chodron said, “To cultivate equanimity we practice catching ourselves when we feel attraction or aversion, before it hardens into grasping or negativity.”

This, of course, connects to mindfulness. The Buddha taught that there are four frames of reference in mindfulness:

1. Mindfulness of body (kayasati).
2. Mindfulness of feelings or sensations (vedanasati).
3. Mindfulness of mind or mental processes (cittasati).
4. Mindfulness of mental objects or qualities (dhammasati).

Here we have a really good example of working with mindfulness of feelings and mental processes. People who are not-mindful are perpetually being jerked around by their emotions and biases. But with mindfulness, you recognize and acknowledge feelings without letting them control you.
 
Pema Chodron says that when feelings of attraction or aversion arise, we can “use our biases as stepping-stones for connecting with the confusion of others.” When we become intimate with and accepting of own feelings, we see more clearly how everyone gets hooked by their hopes and fears. From this, “a bigger perspective can emerge.”
 
Thich Nhat Hanh says that Buddhist equanimity includes the ability to see everyone as equal. “We shed all discrimination and prejudice, and remove all boundaries between ourselves and others,” he writes. “In a conflict, even though we are deeply concerned, we remain impartial, able to love and to understand both sides. [The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching, p. 162].” I confess, that last one is really difficult for me, but that’s what we are called to do.
 
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REFERENCES
¹ The Buddha
SOURCE: http://buddhism.about.com/od/theeightfoldpath/a/right-mindfulness.htm
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(Richard Taylor Suggestion)

THE PRACTICE:
Catch yourself feeling a “HIT” or ACTIVATION”.

Notice it.

Talk to yourself called Self-Talk.

Say: ” Remain Calm. Breathe.”

Listen with empathy (Empathetic Listening) trying to hear the other person’s points. Try to understand the underlying feelings that are driving the words spoken. Is it fear, frustration, misdirected pent up stress? What is it?

Remain silent. Try to remain neutral. Try for either being Neutral or Nice. Refrain from Nasty.

These are the 3 N’s. = Nasty/Neutral/Nice.

If flooded with feelings and you feel like yelling or being nasty…say “I am taking a 10/20/30 minute break and will discuss this when we are both calm. Please allow me to take this break without chasing me. How about you calm down too. ”

Discuss things when you are calm.

Choose to cooperate and then compromise or harmonize.
 
REFLECT/EVALUATE:

How did I do? What could I do better next time?

Form a plan for next time. Say “Next Time I will_________________”

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For Personal Help With Conflict:

CONTACT

Richard TaylorDirector Richard Taylor BS, CAMF
Certified Anger Management Facilitator
Diplomate American Association Anger Management Providers

Atlanta Anger Management
5555 Glenridge Connector
Suite 200 (2nd Floor)
Atlanta, Georgia 30342 USA

Office Phone: 678-576-1913
Fax: 1-866-551-1253
Web: www.atlantaangermanagement.com
E-mail: richardtaylor5555@gmail.com

Linked in: http://www.linkedin.com/in/richardtayloraam

Atlanta’s #1 Oldest Certified Anderson and Anderson™ Anger Management Provider
The Best Of The Best In Anger Management & Emotional Intelligence

 

SIGNS YOUR MARRIAGE RELATIONSHIP IS IN TROUBLE

SIGNS YOUR MARRIAGE RELATIONSHIP IS IN TROUBLE 8


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Smart Tip: Get help when things start going downhill. Nip things in the bud.
 
 

“Couples wait an average of six years of being unhappy with their relationship before getting help,” said John Gottman, emeritus professor of psychology at the University of Washington and executive director of The Gottman Research Institute in Seattle. 1

 
Many couples never seek any help and either break up or head to a divorce attorney.
 
The divorce rate in the United States is the highest in the world. Fifty percent of marriages end in divorce. Sixty-seven percent of all second marriages end in divorce and 73 percent of third marriages end in divorce.2
 
Fifty percent of all children are children of divorce. 40.8% of all children are born of never married parents. 3
 
Divorce is expensive.
 

“It’s a lot more expensive to maintain two separate households and you’re having to do it on the same amount of income,” said Jeff Landers, CDFA, President of Bedrock Divorce Advisors in New York.

 
The impact of divorce is huge in their own lives and that of their children.
 
When children have a hard time, boys and girls suffer equally. They differ in how they suffer. Boys are more externally symptomatic acting out their anger, frustration and hurt. Boys may get into trouble in school; fight more with peers and parents. Girls tend to internalize their distress. They may become depressed, develop headaches, stomach aches, and have changes in their eating and sleeping patterns. Aggressive anger or passive anger is often felt and acted out.
 

What should people experiencing relationship/marriage problems do?
 

Get help when things start going downhill. Nip things in the bud.
 
 

Opposition brings concord. Out of discord comes the fairest harmony. 4

 
 
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Signs Of Trouble:

 
1 You’re Thinking About Having An Affair – STOP!
 

Having an affair outside the marriage/relationship does not solve your unhappiness.
Fact is affairs create unintended problems, generating a life of their own with unintended consequences no one can anticipant. It is not worth it. Stop the mental projections, the wishing immediately when they come up. Change your focus back towards your partner and seek help if you cannot work things out.
 
Bear in mind that counselors varying greatly on what they actually are committed to helping you accomplish.
Some have the goal of saving the relationship/marriage and is the driving point of their work; others maintain a goal of separate partner (individual) bliss. Divorce/Separation for the later is often guaranteed. Know your counselor point of view and goals before engaging them. Ask for a disclosure. Ask an open ended question like: ‘What is your main goal when working with couples with problems?’
 
Try and figure out if the counselor/anger management expert:
 
A. Fight for relationship/marriage at all costs
B. Main concern of the work is individual happiness and wellbeing
 
Instead of talk therapy, check out Anger ManagementCouples Conflict Management.
Atlanta Anger Management Couples Conflict Management is not talk therapy counseling.
 
It is client education and training re-framing the relationship patterns, enhancing assertive communication and active listening. It is increasing awareness of anger and other negative emotions triggers and hot buttons to understand relationship dynamics and handle them in a more productive way. It is changing destructive behavior patterns into more positive relationship patterns that are sustainable. It is not a short term fix but a new way of being/living. It is maintaining an exciting new way of being. Commit to being a “Creative Partner Invested In Positive Change”6.
 
Affairs Continued…
 
Once emotional or sexual involvement goes outside a marriage, the issues needing to be addressed become background issues.
 
Problems magnify and get worse:
 
• Lies
• Not doing what you say – See: Be Impeccable
• Broken promises
• Deceit
• Guilt
• Building Walls of separation
• Avoidance
• Less time spend together
• Shame
• Increased suspicions
• Trust erodes
• Responsibility diminishes
• Character flaws are magnified
• Love is crushed and turns to contempt
• I do not care anymore = death of relationship
 
If you’re considering being unfaithful, it signals something is wrong with your relationship.
Ask yourself and be honest. “Can I resist temptation?”
 
If someone threw themselves on me … Can I resist without thought because I am totally committed to my partner. This is what is needed even if you are fighting right now.
 
Remember: Any indiscretion is always found out. The Truth always is found out. The News verifies this daily.
 
There are solutions to your problems. Call Richard Taylor 678.576.1913
 
2 You Fight About The Same Thing Over and Over and Over
 
You should know with a 50% chance of marriage lasting that Marriage and Conflict happening is not if but when. Arguing from time to time is perfectly normal and is expected. That is not a problem. The problem is outlined with further points below.
Accept The Unsolvable
 
According to relationship scientist John Gottman, 69% of relationship conflicts are persistent problems, meaning they revolve around issues that tend to resurface no matter how long you’ve been together. If you find a problem seems to call up painful emotions, you’re looking at one that’s persistent.1
 
To stop this trouble from ruining your relationship, you’ll need to address the bigger issues underlying your difficulty. Take turns discussing with your partner what this loaded issue really means to you. When your partner is talking, your job is to listen, be nonjudgmental and to find something in her/his perspective that makes sense to you. When it’s your turn to talk, she/he should be doing the same thing. By treading more gently into touchy areas, you should at least be able to agree to disagree or make some small concessions for one another. Accept that some things are not solvable. It is best to not talk about it. Couples who have been together a long time have embraced this concept and saved their marriage by doing so.
 
Couples who focus on the negatives in their relationship surely self destruct.1
 
It is best to practice LIVING IN THE MOMENT and not bringing up the past. Live right now. Also do not project these beliefs into the future. Say: “ That was then, this is now.” All I can experience is right now. Work on catching negative thoughts and choose to ‘change the channel” with positive thoughts. Like “What is it I like most about my partner?” Focus with intention for 10-30 seconds on the good to help imprint it on the brain to rewire it.
 
3 Spending Less Time Together
 
 

“The number one cause for the breakdown in marriages today is couples aren’t spending enough time together.” 7 – Michele Weiner Davis

 
 
Everything is more important than setting aside sacred time for one another. Whether it’s work, kids, meetings, clubs, church, temple, friends, working out, hobbies, golf, sports, TV, social media, relatives, and so on, everything seems to take precedence over the relationship. When this happens, couples stop being friends and their emotional connection suffers. They begin leading separate lives. The often become housemates.
 
Marriage will remain in danger unless you change this. Make it your joint mission to re-establish couple time together and family time together. Perhaps real meals rather than fast food eating. Outdoor activities help relieve stress and help bonding. Put away your cell phones, texting, listening to “your” music. Embrace being present to those around you. Get out of yourself and into your relationships. You can choose to change. But no one can make you. Each person has to decide to let others in.
 
4 Talking About Superficial Topics
 

Communication is one of the keys to lasting relationships.
 
Partners often have different needs when it comes to talking. Often guys like to talk “about” things, while women like to often talk about their emotions and the meaning of things, events, family, deeper conversations that force us to think, feel, emote and define our beliefs. This is often harder work than the surface talk.
 
The “talker” in the marriage/relationship often feels let down, hurt, frustrated and alone because their partner does not participate willingly in the dialogue.
 
The “talker” sometimes talks about their needs and what needs fixing in the relationship which results in the partner shutting down and wants to disengage in the conversation. These produce avoidance, putting up walls and further shuts down communication. The result is negative feelings that might include frustration, isolation, uncooperativeness, unhappiness, loneliness, not being connected and depression.
Having these talks of the heart is needed to promote intimacy, acceptance, reliance, love, safety and security. Maybe even the feeling of feeling cherished. Being reluctant to engage in these conversations put your relationship at risk.
 
Unmet needs and boundary violations are the two main reasons anger is often felt and expressed.
 
So conversations discussing important matters about finances, your own feelings, loved ones, future plans and goals, what is working and not working, behavior change requests, etc are vastly important. Couples usually are able to move into these conversations in their 30’s and on. Not having them can make the relationship seem superficial, light and not very serious. Many, many people remain adolescent in their self development no matter what age they are. They are just not willing to do any self growth work.
 
5 Escalating Fights
 

Often we find our vocabulary limited and we rely on the same expression over and over and our conversations repeat themselves. He/she says the same thing, she/he responds always in the same way. We are on a gerbil round treadmill repeating the same relationship dynamics. We hear ourselves say…”Oh no, here we go again!”
 
This often leads to anger, contempt and withdrawal. Avoidance is a key destructive interaction in relationships.
 
Pay attention and notice if you are having the same fights.
 
If these arguments are growing in intensity you must act and do something about them. Seek outside professional help very soon, not six years from now! Sometimes these escalating fights manifest into either verbal abuse or physical abuse.
 
Rule #1 In Anger Management: Do Not Touch Your Partner When Angry. You Will Get Arrested.
 
Both verbal abuse or physical abuse are destructive to lasting relationships so act and get help.
 
Aggressive Communication Style often has components of:
 
Inattention

• Interrupting

• Control

• Manipulation

• Intimidation

• Hostility
 
These ongoing ever repeating fights or arguments definitely showcase that deeper underlying issues are not being addressed. Most often communication skills are lacking that healthy couples have. These communication skills can be learned so that unresolved issues can be worked through. We offer help in communication skills. Inquire.
 
6 Having Little Or No Sex
 
Usually one partner has a lower sex drive than the other partner. In other words one partner wants sex more often than the other. The problem arises when the partner with the lower sex drive refuses their spouse’s feelings and rejects most, if not all, sexual advances.
 
Often this results in hurt feelings, frustration, rejection, feeling unwanted, feeling deflated, emotionally disconnected, angry and desperate.
 
If this goes on too long be wary of one partner disconnecting and becoming removed. Intimacy ends. This can often lead to infidelity. Even if only emotional infidelity.
 
Divorce also happens.
 
Once you experience these feelings, many things can happen. You stop enjoying each other’s company, spending time together, connecting emotionally, and being friends. If you don’t do something about it the death of the relationship often results. Or you become housemates for the duration with little empathy or love for the other. You move into existence mode. This is unnatural and not healthy, especially when children are involved.
 
I have helped many couples that are sleeping in separate bedrooms, in essence co-existing.
 
If this is a religious decision of sexual abstinence that is a choice and is healthy and a positive thing, but most people are not in that situation. It is isolation, alienation that causes it.
 
If a spouse is not getting enough sex, or would like more frequency while the other not, you both need to examine the reasons it’s happening. If might be necessary get professional help in Sex Therapy. Do whatever it takes to re-create passion and intimacy in your marriage. Action is called for.
 

7 Focusing more on kids than each other
 
Fact: Empty Nesters are still divorcing in droves. Once the children leave home, the relationship often feels overwhelmingly void.9
Today’s American culture (and many others) has become very Child Centric; meaning making our children our number one priority placing them in the center of our lives.
 
Everything is about our children.
 
Often when we live this way, our marriages suffer. It is hard to follow the sage wisdom: God First, Spouses Second, Children Third, Parents Fourth. 10
 
Be careful to not feel more connected to your children than your partner. Doing so often disconnects us from our spouses, resulting in us becoming strangers. This empties the marriage of intimacy.
 
Making the marriage the most important thing in your lives is the best thing you can do for your children. Your children benefit enormously when you have loving close relationship, as it models what a good marriage is, giving them the image framework to repeat it in their own adult lives.
It also helps marital longevity more likely.
 
TIP: Analyze your family life. Are you on auto pilot? Are you placing your relationship to God 1st, Spouse 2nd, Children 3rd, Parents 4th? If not, try to change as this will put your marriage on a better path towards lasting fulfillment.

“Good character is not formed in a week or a month. It is created little by little, day by day. Protracted and patient effort is needed to develop good character.” – Heraclitus 3

 

QUESTIONS:

 
Do you see yourself in any of the above?
 
Do you see partner in any of the above?
 
Do you admit you might need to tweak some things?
 
Great. Awareness is the first key to change and make things better.
 
Do not be static, stuck and remain in your relationship patterns.
 
Do something.
 
Take a positive step and invest in your relationship/marriage, It is worth the cost of money, time, effort and growth.

Change is the only constant. All is flux, nothing is stationary. Everything flows and nothing stays. 3 – Heraclitus

Be exceptional and do not wait years, 2013 is the year. Heed these warnings if you are living them.
 
Make the call to Richard Taylor of Atlanta Anger Management at 678.576.1913
 
When you do, your marriage/relationship will be a healthier, happier place to be and you will live longer due to less stress. Really.
 
 
CONTACT
Director Richard Taylor BS, CAMF
Certified Anger Management Facilitator
Diplomate American Association Anger Management Providers
Atlanta Anger Management
5555 Glenridge Connector
Suite 200 (2nd Floor)
Atlanta, Georgia 30342 USA
Office Phone: 678-576-1913
Fax: 1-866-551-1253
Web: http://www.atlantaangermanagement.com
E-mail: richardtaylor5555@gmail.com
Linked in:http://www.linkedin.com/in/richardtayloraam

A Certified Anderson and Anderson™ Anger Management Provider
The Best Of The Best In Anger Management & Emotional Intelligence
 
At Atlanta Anger Management, Atlanta, GA  Anger Management is offered:

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References:
1. The Gottman Research Institute
2. Leo Averbach, Author, Breakup: Enduring Divorce; BreakupAid
Follow Leo Averbach on Twitter: www.twitter.com/Breakupwriter
3. Heritage Foundation – America’s Greatest Weapon Against Child Poverty
4. Heraclitus – Ηράκλειτος (Herakleitos; Heraclitus) of Ephesus (c.535 BC – 475 BC) was a Greek philosopher
Good character is not formed in a week or a month. It is created little by little, day by day. Protracted and patient effort is needed to develop good character.
5. Ancient version of the Taijitu (太極圖), origins from Lai Zhi-De (來知德) alias Lai Qu-Tang (來瞿唐) 1525-1604). Black and white swirls around a transparent circle.
6. “Creative Partners Invested In Positive Change” © Richard Taylor 2009
7. Michele Weiner-Davis MSW http://www.divorcebusting.com/
8. Michele Weiner-Davis MSW http://www.divorcebusting.com/
9. Empty Nests and Empty Marriages
10. Happy Wives Club