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

 

RESPECTING PARTNER’S PERSONAL “SPACE”

RESPECTING YOUR PARTNER “SPACE”

Every week I see clients who volunteer to work with me in Private Sessions
to resolve conflict and anger in their personal relationships.

Couples Conflict composes about 80% of my work. Helping one or both present to create new relationship patterns replacing old ones that are not working.

This post is about respecting your partner’s personal “space” that is often requested but not honored. Almost always this comes up in the Session.

Imagine: You are beginning to argue as usual (lately more than ever) and one person gets emotionally charged by the discussion and your partner withdraws as they do not want to continue to argue. They FLEE and you chase them around your house or apartment to continue the argument. They sometimes lock themselves in a room and you find yourself banging on the door shouting at them. “Come on! We need to discuss this NOW!”

Their disengagement really triggers you into an aggressive anger mode. We say that AVOIDANCE is destructive as the FIGHT-FLIGHT RESPONSE ¹ has kicked in. Our brains get hijacked by this and we want push back. We want engagement NOW! We might even name call, badger, get nasty vocally trying to be fulfilled. We actually want a fight.

Our partner does not want a fight. We cannot see that. We just want to be able to continue to express our hostility. We think “Weasel.” The reason this occurs is that our amydala in the limbric part of our brains gets stimulated launching the Fight Response. We want engagement.

For WITHDRAWAL or AVOIDANCE to work when things are calm between you have a discussion and agree to below formula.

  1. When a person calls for “I NEED SPACE” or “TIME OUT” or ” I NEED A BREAK” both immediately acknowledge it, and person tells for how long.  For example: “I need space for 20 minutes for things to cool off.”
  2. Decide ahead of time location for each person to retreat to. One to the bedroom. Another to the porch, or man cave etc. No one leaves the premise.
  3. Use DISTRACTION TOOL. Both people do not think of the impasse or topics being discussed. Refocus your attention to something else. Think about someone you love, your next vacation, a hobby, what you have to get done today, think about your goals you want to accomplish in the next few months. By distracting yourself you allow the hormones to dissipate and rational thinking returns.
  4. When time is up, check in and see if both are now back to more normal emotional state. If one is still very emotional, continue break for another 20 minutes.
  5. Upon resuming discussion, both ask together: ” Are we going to remember this argument in a year?” 80% No. 20% Yes.
  6. Easiest for one to say ok lets do it your way. Or You are right. If you start getting emotional again. STOP. Postpone for a day.
  7. OR Get paper and use Problem Solving Technique we will discuss in tomorrow’s blog.

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The Fight or Flight Response¹

¹

The Fight or Flight Response

The reaction begins in the amygdala, which triggers a neural response in the hypothalamus. The initial reaction is followed by activation of the pituitary gland and secretion of the hormone ACTH.[8] The adrenal gland is activated almost simultaneously and releases the neurotransmitter epinephrine. The release of chemical messengers results in the production of the hormone cortisol, which increases blood pressure, blood sugar, and suppresses the immune system.[9] The initial response and subsequent reactions are triggered in an effort to create a boost of energy. This boost of energy is activated by epinephrine binding to liver cells and the subsequent production of glucose.[10] Additionally, the circulation of cortisol functions to turn fatty acids into available energy, which prepares muscles throughout the body for response.[11] Catecholamine hormones, such as adrenaline (epinephrine) or noradrenaline (norepinephrine), facilitate immediate physical reactions associated with a preparation for violent muscular action. These include the following:[12]

Function of physiological changes

The physiological changes that occur during the fight or flight response are activated in order to give the body increased strength and speed in anticipation of fighting or running. Some of the specific physiological changes and their functions include:[13][14]

Are you in constant conflict and never ending arguments?

A few Private Sessions on a Monday Evening will give you the tools to live better and return yourselves to your old loving selves. Your life deserves better that how you are living. You are killing yourselves with stress, coronary heart disease. No joke.

Call Richard Taylor at 678.576.1913

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: www.atlantaangermanagement.com
E-mail: richardtaylor5555@gmail.com

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

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