How to Practice Equanimity Meditation

of identity, imagining that it will protect us from harm. But this so often causes us to be trapped in these same towers with our sorrows, regrets, fears and anger. There is another way.]]Equanimity as a skill is most important to develop, its what we need in our darkest moments to let go of issues and move on. Its underlying value is really proportionate to the difficulty it is to develop, because equanimity as a practice examines our feelings face to face. It requires both understanding of the facts of life, but also compassion and the strength to let go of the things we cannot change. The meditation is rich in value because what it gives the practitioner is the foundation to let go of any unhappy experience they may encounter to the benefit of their health and happiness. This meditation can give release to all the mental troubles we experience. This article looks at how to begin and to develop the meditation further for the benefit of any who look for a way to accept and let go.


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    Select a quiet and peaceful place and select a comfortable posture. The Do Mindful Meditation page examines the 4 postures in a little more detail to help you choose one that will work for you. Any posture is suitable and they are all about even in terms of advantages. Spend a few minutes being aware and relaxing any muscle tension, focusing on an object such as the breath, or mindfulness of another type. The aim is to develop a good foundation in mindfulness and awareness that you can depend on and return to as that gives the mind a good basis to build on.
    • This meditation can be practiced with eyes open or closed, but select the style according to which is relevant to your case. To develop it deeply the eyes should be closed to reduce visual distractions, but with the eyes closed the mind can wander off. A beginner is best to stick with the eyes gently open until they have experience in staying with the present moment.
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    Build a foundation by considering what letting go is and its benefits. The central focus of letting go is not denying or suppressing the issue or trying to run away, but accepting that things are as they are, forgiving them, then letting go of them & the need to fight or flight.

    Letting go, as well as understanding it becomes easier when you examine the practice of letting go next to your own experiences. It is very useful to consider that letting go is both an act of release, like after serving time in a prison to finally get outside. It is also a kindness as holding onto unhappy events and feelings can afflict a person for their whole life, like a poison poured into a lake.

    A beginner ideally should practice this meditation when some existing meditation practice such as in loving kindness, appreciation or compassion is developed. Just like these other three, Equanimity relies on the practice of virtue, investigation, wisdom and mental training to be developed and used, so it does not come easily without time and understanding. Just the same as in the other three, this meditation only works when the practitioner is sincere about what they intend to do.
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    After a few minutes, consider the ways equanimity can be mishandled and become harmful. Equanimity can fail if the practitioner chooses a subject that strongly overpowers them and/or that they feel strong feelings about, as unless they already have experience and strength to let go of all feelings, then the meditation can go astray. The classical enemies of equanimity that are related to wanting something and a few of many examples to consider are:
    1. Wanting to fix or remove an existing problem.
    2. Wanting to prevent problems from ever occurring.
    3. Wanting some method to just make the feelings go away.
    4. Wanting justice or compensation for unpleasant experiences.
    • Keep any eye out for the other enemies as you go. They can be very volatile feelings, or very heavy feelings such as depression or despair. Ultimately for equanimity to be developed further, it is necessary to let go of these feelings and thoughts as they are all baited hooks for the mind. Once bitten, we are caught like a fish, but by understanding how we are caught, we avoid biting that hook and can move onto the next stage.
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    Turn your mind towards an issue you have experienced. It might be a problem currently experienced, or something else that is effecting your well being. Examine the subject experience remotely and objectively, again by comparing it from your experiences. At this stage, consider the nature of this experience but without getting involved into the past event. It may be useful to imagine it as a film projected on a screen in order to separate yourself and examine it objectively. Some examples to consider are:
    1. How long ago it happened. Is it a recent or an old event?
    2. What emotion do you experience at recalling that subject experience? Regret, frustration, embarrassment, impotence, sorrow, anger or other emotions are all relevant. The practitioner should likewise keep these emotions at arms length.
    3. What does the mind want to do with the subject? Change it, run away from it, forget it, destroy it?
    4. Are other people involved in the subject? Some experiences happen while we are on our own, but sometimes we are with, or the subject is about other people.
    5. Do the emotions felt as a result of the event affect your life? How?
    6. Can the experience be avoided in future? Some feelings are ways of telling us we still haven't learn the lesson that there is a cause and an effect, so some things can be avoided by practicing wisdom, but some events are part of life and are unavoidable.
    • The purpose of this section meets a hidden range of needs. Firstly we need to be able to see the "frog in the cave" which is a modern metaphor as some frogs' croak becomes a booming roar in the echo of the cavern, making it seem bigger than it really is. This means we have to see what the problem that lurks in our mind is all about, as often the mind tries to hide from memories and that can make them more powerful and frightening than they really are. Secondly and crucially, only once we have been able to examine it can we question why we are letting it haunt us.
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    Build a deeper sense of detachment from the experience. To be able to look into the heart of the subject issue, there is a host of things to consider, however it is important to continue to be objective and to bear in mind the ways the equanimity can be turned into something harmful. A practitioner who is not objective will often fall into feelings of despair, impotence, loneliness and sorrow. There are many examples you can use with only a few listed, so choose one that is most relevant for your mind.
    1. That there really is a lot of things that happen or can happen in life that are unpleasant. We cannot predict these events, prevent unpleasant ones or make them go away on a wish when they do come.
    2. Good times and pleasant experiences in life do happen just as do bad times, but neither will last forever.
    3. We are human and continue to exist dependent on many external conditions. We do not have powers to make life be what we want.
    4. We cannot turn and beg to someone or try to negotiate to fix the problem for us. If there was, there wouldn't be any problems left for anyone as we would all be doing it.
    • This section may seem at first glance very depressing, but the purpose is threefold: firstly to question the wisdom of being haunted and/or feeling sorrow or frustration at things we can neither avoid, prevent or change. Secondly, only once the practitioner has sincerely accepted that the facts of life are the facts of life, will they be less susceptible to them in future. Finally, sincerity is essential to balance out the sorrow and despair with whichever emotion is most relevant to your mind - these being equanimity, goodwill, appreciation and compassion. If the practitioner is not sincere, then the entire practice does not give any benefits.
    • Therefore, its always down to using the right tool to the need as sometimes just being aware that things change is enough to resolve the problem and to be at rest. Sometimes it needs to balance out the sorrow with remembering to appreciate the beauty and richness that exists within us all.
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    Continue keeping contact with your mindful awareness so you don't wander off into your concerns. If you wander off, it can be a bit like walking into quicksand. The more you struggle, the quicker you drown. The point is that, a little fire can become a big fire with adequate fuel. The fuel is wanting or craving things to be different. The only solution is to let go of the fuel and the fire will burn out. If you keep feeding it, it will keep flaring and even small small flames can become a raging inferno. Putting the fire out means not only to douse the flames, but to know how to prevent fires by removing the fuel source. We can douse our anger with goodwill and we can remove the fuel source by becoming familiar with the mind and developing it.
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    When you have achieved a sense of peace, or equilibrium where the issue has been placed to rest, even if its for a little while, you have reached a balance point. Now start to develop the equanimity. Start by examining the benefit of a cooler, more gentle and balanced mind, as opposed to being in the turmoil at the heart of the issue. Do this for as long and as often as you feel you can. Apply this meditation or your experiences from this meditation toward any times that feel stressful or unhappy. Eventually it gets much easier to let go of the aches and pains of life, you can face them without fear and let them go in a heartbeat without any regret or insecurity.


  • As always talk to someone if you need help or the support of a counsel or an experienced meditator. This meditation is for getting a person back on their feet and to be able to be independent in future. If you can't yet walk, support is very useful to give you advice to be able to practice more effectively for the benefit of yourself and the benefit of others.

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Categories: Breathing and Meditation | Buddhist Meditation