“Mental calmness and evenness of temper, especially in a difficult situation.”
From Buddhism to Stoicism, equanimity found its way in to many if not all of the ancient philosophies.
And yet it’s so scarce in the present day.
In its simplest form, equanimity is about living life in a constant, calm, and content state.
It’s about not letting the waves of everyday throw us off our stride. Or the emotions of those around us weaken our spirit.
Rudyard Kipling has a fantastic verse on this. In his poem If, we find:
If you can dream- and not make dreams your master,
If you can think- and not make thoughts your aim,
If you can meet- with triumph and disaster,
And treat those two imposters just the same.
A common objection to equanimity is that it’s too passive a way to live and you miss out on the joys of life….
But in actual fact, you spend more time in a state of joy. It’s just a deeper more grounded joy than the punch-the-air-champagne-fuelled joy that many of us chase.
So how can one live with more equanimity?
It’s simply a question of how you perceive the world.
The emotional rollercoaster that we tend to take through life, is down to our perception of the world and the warped sense of reality that it creates.
If we can start to see life for what it really is then equanimity becomes the natural state. Anger seems foolish. Fear, misguided. Elation, bemusing.
Once the world opens up to us, we find we’ve been paddling frantically in the wrong direction, and if we just go with the flow then we start to move through life with ease.
And low and behold, we soon end up where we want to go.