Now and then, we write something especially for our email subscribers.
We've decided to call these "Weekly (kind of) Dispatches." I have included the first installment in its entirety below. Give it a read - if you like it and don't currently get email updates from us, click this link to sign up.
April 19th, 2015
We are starting a new thing - on some Sundays, we will send out an email with discussion around a central theme (including quotes and links to relevant articles).
Topics will be related to understanding your mind, and mindfulness and meditation (of course!).
The emails won't be every week - the pace will probably be once or twice a month. If you don't want to receive them, simply unsubscribe by clicking the link at the end of this message.
We do hope you stay, however! In return, we will try to deliver something insightful and actionable to help with your daily life!
This week's topic comes from a discussion on our Facebook page (if you don't already follow us on Facebook, you can "Like" our page here).
We start with a quote from Ajahn Sumeedho: "If you're always trying to get rid of suffering, you can't really understand it; you're caught up in reacting to it."
As humans, we tend to cling to/chase things we label "good," and avoid/push away things we label "bad."
But, in clinging and avoiding, we fail to see that we are still very much caught up in thought. We are trying to pick and choose experiences. We are trying to control things.
And, all of this means we are caught up in (or, more aptly, drowning in) our mental drama about the situations around us.
How do you combat this? Through equanimity. Here is the formal definition: 1. mental calmness, composure, and evenness of temper. 2. evenness of mind.
It's an important concept that can help you better deal with the thoughts (and emotions, and urges) that your mind produces. By rising above the labels of "good" and "bad," you learn to watch everything that your mind produces from a neutral perspective. In turn, you can stop the cycle of self-imposed suffering that results from trying to cling to what you see as favorable and push away what you see as unfavorable.
Here are a few quotes to help with your understanding of equanimity:
"Happy the man who can endure the highest and the lowest fortune. He, who has endured such vicissitudes with equanimity, has deprived misfortune of its power." - Seneca
"Neither a thought nor an emotion, it is rather the steady conscious realization of reality's transience. It is the ground for wisdom and freedom and the protector of compassion and love. While some may think of equanimity as dry neutrality or cool aloofness, mature equanimity produces a radiance and warmth of being." - Gil Fronsadal
Remember - there is the situation, and there are your thoughts about the situation. The latter almost always causes you to suffer more than the former.
For more about equanimity, particularly how it applies in the context of change and impermanence, read this article we wrote a while back: Don't attach to the lows OR the highs - practice equanimity.
In closing, consider this: the energy you expend being caught up in your mind can be reallocated to the present moment, and used to make better decisions and take more skillful actions.
Focus for the week: you can't control the things that happen to you, but you can control your reactions to those things.
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