Equanimity is not the same thing as indifference. We often confuse them to our jeopardy.
Recently, when asked why I seemed peaceful, I reacted “I don’t mind what happens to me.” which I had once heard a worshipped Buddhist leader say and which sink into my mettle like beach in a container of apples, winding its path into every empty space. Notice that equanimity is not minding what happens to us, rather than not helping. I care that I have just burned my hands, but I do not mind that I time burned my hands. It is a matter of internal stability. It is a matter of living a pleasant life while those around you storm and steam. It is a matter of, as a potter might say, “being centered.”
Equanimity is hard work. It’s the hardest “class” in Jesus’ little school we call life. Good things happen and it is hard not to want to drink deep of it like an alcoholic sucking down the relief of a vodka. But then there needs to be another. And another. As “theyre saying” of craving, “One is too much and fifty are not enough.” However, then bad things happen, and we rear up in resentment as if suffering were somehow not in our contract.
Indifference may be the greatest human evil; standing by while someone is being abused or bullied or starved. And Equanimity might be the greatest human tool; living a life that welcomes all of it- aware that suffering will pass. Ecstasy will pass. Everything will pass.
As we honcho into the vulnerability of an election in which so much is at stake, engagement the results with equanimity seems an rage if not un-American. But again, we mystify nonchalance with phlegm. I will watch closely. I will care what happens to others. But what I will try not to do, is to mind what happens to me. And I say “try” because I often disappoint.
The resonates of teaches in my intelligence sing out with berate. “There is no “try” Charles. Just do it! ” and yet I have never find equanimity easy. I can only “do it” when I form bread. Generally. But nonchalance requires our deepest internal soul-muscles. Americans are programmed to care what happens to us, care how much we are paid, care how high is our standard of living, care about deeds and status and symbols of property. We have embarrassed glamor with charm. Like indifference and serenity, glamor and knockout are not the same thing. One is the dark side of the other.
When, the Church got into bed with Empire in the 4th century, it exchanged elegance for glamor- wooden bowls for gilded chalices. As the Church runs out of money over the next few decades, it will be forced to let go of its glamor and may, simply may, be able to regain its beauty.
When I mind what is happening in me, I fret. I influence others. I posture. I wear epitomizes of power or statu or spiritual-pole-vaulting. I climb and I grab and I require. But when I can greet the day( ok, the hour) with nonchalance, I can set aside what happens to me and I been given an opportunity at the kind of empathy and compassion that sends indifference into its time-out-corner where it can do less suffering.
There is so much rage in the air today, when I bid there is indeed scents of apple cider and cinnamon on the stave studying apart. The opposite of madnes is empathy.
What would this election look like if the people of this person and this Church were more worried about neighbors on this planet who shortage basic requisites and less worried about our revenues and our Amazon orders?
This pandemic has forced our hand And we, sheltering in our homes, have been given the great gift of reconsidering how we are living. We are being given the gift of impression and of mindfulness and even of some silence. We are given the opportunity to wear the same outfit for dates on end, unable to impress anyone- and then to realize how comfy are those old-fashioned sweat breathes and that favorite t-shirt.
And we are being given the chance to see that Jesus is not just under a crimson candle in our faith. Jesus is sitting with us, gazing at our glamour while appearing past our glamor- bending in for a kiss while the wood-fire crackles and the soup simmers.
Charles LaFond is a fundraiser, an generator, a novelist, a potter, and a friend to numerous. He are living with a wood-stove on the cliff of an island in the Salish Sea with his pup Sugar. He very much likes soup.
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