Last updated November, 2017.
note: we link to our free guide to mindfulness and meditation at the end of this article (no email required).
Everything changes, nothing is permanent: equanimity is a concept tied to this truth.
It is defined as "mental calmness, composure, and evenness of temper, especially in a difficult situation."
Why is equanimity important?
The way we normally treat thoughts, emotions, people, places, things (i.e., everything in life) is by labeling, categorizing, and judging them. We grasp after what we determine to be pleasant. And, we push away what we determine to be unpleasant.
Equanimity dictates we adopt a neutral view instead. Drop the labels and judgment, and see reality as it is - without the mental filters and constructs we usually place on top of it.
This view goes hand-in-hand with impermanence. It's difficult to apply equanimity if we don't realize that everything comes into being, exists for a time, and ceases. And, if we apply equanimity consistently, it will combat our minds' attempts to make everything permanent by continuously "grasping after" this and "pushing away" that.
Equanimity has another benefit: it helps end the self-imposed suffering (worry, anxiety, frustration, depression, et cetera) that comes from labeling, judging, and generally trying to control experience.
As Stoic philosophy tells us, it's not the situation that causes us problems, it's our thoughts about the situation. By applying equanimity, we'll find this isn't just an empty platitude. And, once we free up the time and energy previously spent on "mental gymnastics," we can use it to make more skillful decisions and take more skillful actions.
This quote from Gil Fronsadal nicely sums up the relationship between equanimity and impermanence:
"Neither a thought nor an emotion, it is rather the steady conscious realization of reality's transience [impermanence]. Equanimity is the ground for wisdom and freedom."
Many of the concepts above are related to mindfulness and meditation. We have a free guide that will teach you how to do it (and, tell you why you should). You don't need to register or provide any information - just go read it.
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