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

 

A FORCE FOR GOOD – The Dalai Lama’s Vision For Our World – New Book

A note from Dan Goleman:

As I was interviewing the Dalai Lama for my book A FORCE FOR GOOD: The Dalai Lama’s Vision for Our World, Paul Ekman’s work came up repeatedly. The Dalai Lama places great importance, for one, on Paul’s mapping the emotions – a tool that can help people get a better grip on their own. Then there’s the Cultivating Emotional Balance program¹, which has helped countless teachers and others mange their inner world better.

DanGolemanAs Paul makes clear in his book, there is the challenge the Dalai Lama poses to all of us, moving toward the ideal of universal compassion, an attitude that values every person on Earth equally.

In A FORCE FOR GOOD the Dalai Lama suggests we start with an emotional transformation toward greater calm, clarity, and compassion. Then, with this inner rudder, act to improve the world he spells out what our world needs in many spheres – ranging from transparency to dispel corruption in government and business, to a more caring economics, to healing the planet.

And he urges us to act now, in whatever way we can – even if we won’t see the results in our lifetime. We can change the future over the course of this century, if we all act to create this force for good, he urges.
Intriguingly, the arguments the Dalai Lama makes are not based in Buddhism, but rather in science.  He supports his views by drawing on the countless meetings he has had over the decades with world-class scientists – especially Paul’s work.

Paul Ekman Group Website

P.E.G.

Paul has spent more than 60 hours in one-on-one conversation with the Dalai Lama. As Paul puts it, they are like brothers.

Dr. Paul Ekman

Dr. Paul Ekman

Of all the many achievements over the course of Paul’s career, this may be the most remarkable. For one, even those close to the Dalai Lama’s inner circle find it difficult to schedule time with that ceaseless world traveler. For another, when Richard Davidson and I were considering which scientists to invite to participate in the Mind and Life meeting on “Destructive Emotions,” we had misgivings about Paul, despite his being at the top of our list.

Our hesitation had to do with Paul’s tough-mindedness as a scientist – we were unsure what his chemistry might be with the Dalai Lama – and we know that beyond first-class science, personal rapport made these meetings work. And, as Paul has said himself, at first during the meeting he had his own doubts. But on the third day there was a personal encounter with Paul and the Dalai Lama – when Paul introduced his daughter Eve, and the Dalai Lama held on to Paul’s hand as they spoke.

There was an almost electrical charge, as Paul has put it – and a subsequent deep change in Paul’s being. Where he had been quick to anger, as Paul describes, after that encounter he didn’t even have an angry thought for about nine months.

While most of us can’t hope for such a drastic inner transformation, any of us can begin the inner journey toward more peace and clarity.  As for myself, I find that meditation has offered a way to renew that state daily.

Cultivating Emotional Balance offers a range of approaches to emotional hygiene. There are countless methods.

But as the Dalai Lama emphasizes, that’s a first step. By also enhancing our own compassion, we become better able to act in ways that will add our energy to the force for good he calls us to create.

A Force For Good

A Force For Good

 

Daniel Goleman’s book A FORCE FOR GOOD: The Dalai Lama’s Vision for Our World, can be ordered at www.JoinAForce4Good.org/book.

 

Amazon Books

A Force for Good: The Dalai Lama’s Vision for Our World

by Daniel Goleman (Author), Dalai Lama (Introduction)

His Holiness The 14th Dalai Lama  Of Tibet

His Holiness The 14th Dalai Lama Of Tibet

For more than half a century, in such books as The Art of Happiness and The Dalai Lama’s Little Book of Inner Peace, the Dalai Lama has guided us along the path to compassion and taught us how to improve our inner lives. In A Force for Good, with the help of his longtime friend Daniel Goleman, the New York Times bestselling author of Emotional Intelligence, the Dalai Lama explains how to turn our compassionate energy outward. This revelatory and inspiring work provides a singular vision for transforming the world in practical and positive ways.

Much more than just the most prominent exponent of Tibetan Buddhism, the Fourteenth Dalai Lama is also a futurist who possesses a profound understanding of current events and a remarkable canniness for modern social issues. When he takes the stage worldwide, people listen.

A Force for Good combines the central concepts of the Dalai Lama, empirical evidence that supports them, and true stories of people who are putting his ideas into action—showing how harnessing positive energies and directing them outward has lasting and meaningful effects. Goleman details the science of compassion and how this singular guiding motivation has the power to

• break such destructive social forces as corruption, collusion, and bias
• heal the planet by refocusing our concerns toward our impact on the systems that support all life
• reverse the tendency toward systemic inequity through transparency and accountability
• replace violence with dialogue
• counter us-and-them thinking by recognizing human oneness
• create new economic systems that work for everyone, not just the powerful and rich
• design schooling that teaches empathy, self-mastery, and ethics

Millions of people have turned to the Dalai Lama for his unparalleled insight into living happier, more purposeful lives. Now, when the world needs his guidance more than ever, he shows how every compassion-driven human act—no matter how small—is integral for a more peaceful, harmonious world, building a force for a better future.

Revelatory, motivating, and highly persuasive, A Force for Good is arguably the most important work from one of the world’s most influential spiritual and political figures.

Understand the Force

 Understand the Force

EMBODY COMPASSION

EDUCATE THE HEART

OPPOSE INJUSTICE

CHOOSE HUMANE ECONOMICS

HELP THOSE IN NEED

HEAL THE EARTH

CONNECT ACROSS DIVIDES

 

For local help managing your emotions through:

  • Emotional Intelligence Development
  • Anger Management
  • Stress Management
  • Improved Communications
  • Conflict Management
  • Developing Sound Relationships
  • Coping Strategies
  • Conscious Breathing
  • Laughter Yoga
  • Introduction to Mindfulness
  • Balance of Physical, Mental, Emotional, Spiritual Domains

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

 

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REFERENCES
¹ Cultivating Emotional Balance Research Project

About Cultivating Emotional Balance

Cultivating Emotional Balance is a research project, which arose from a dialogue between biobehavioral scientists studying emotion and the Dalai Lama, Buddhist monks, and scholars at the Mind and Life Institute in Dharamsala, India in March of 2000. This meeting was one in a series sponsored by the Mind and Life Institute to foster an interchange between Buddhist tradition and Western science.

At this meeting, the Dalai Lama asked scientists if they could conduct research to determine whether or not secularized Buddhist practices would be helpful to Westerners dealing with “destructive” emotional experiences. In response to this request, Dr. Paul Ekman and Dr. B. Alan Wallace, developed a training program that integrated Buddhist contemplative practices with Western techniques for dealing with negative emotional experiences. The training’s purpose is to reduce emotional responses that are destructive to self and others and enhance compassion and empathy. This research project, “Cultivating Emotional Balance In Challenging Times” (CEB), is the result of that interchange.

Over the centuries, Buddhism has refined meditation methods which probe the nature of the mind and promote positive states of mind, including compassion. Decades of scientific research has been conducted on altruism, empathy, pro-social behavior, and other concepts that relate directly to compassion. However, there are almost no studies in scientific literature that have found any form of training or intervention that can increase compassion. In fact, there is no agreed upon definition of compassion in the scientific literature.

In these challenging times, the development of methods for “cultivating emotional balance” and promoting compassion for others is a tremendously important scientific and humanitarian goal. By integrating wisdom derived from two very different traditions, the CEB project investigators hope to contribute to this important goal.

Visit Website: http://www.cultivatingemotionalbalance.org/?q=content/home