These "musings" are short articles on select topics. This one was last updated December, 2017. If you find it useful, learn about our online, self-paced program - Awareness-based therapy (ABT).
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 judging, labeling, and categorizing them. We cling to (and chase) what we determine to be pleasant. And, we push away (run from, avoid) 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 "clinging to" 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 judging, labeling, 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."
What if we told you the biggest problem in your life is that your mind is the biggest problem in your life, and you don’t realize it?
It is. But, our online, self-paced program can help you stop being a prisoner of thoughts, emotions, and urges.
Find out more about the ABT program here.
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