What is Equanimity and How do we cultivate it?
“Cultivating equanimity” kind of sounds like we’re teaching you how to start an herb garden. What even is equanimity?
In reality, it’s something we already have, and cultivating it requires only time and practice; no fertilizer necessary.
The conventional definition is “mental calmness, composure, and evenness of temper, especially in a difficult situation.”
Essentially, equanimity is just a fancy term for our inner calm, our invisible muscle of mental smoothness.
Let’s look at an example.
You’re walking down the street and all of a sudden it starts to downpour. Like a straight-up monsoon.
One response would be to cry out in surprise, or anger, and start to run towards a destination. Another would be to scrunch up the body in discomfort, maybe pull on a hood to try to get some protection from the rain.
Equanimity is doing neither of those things. It’s a third option of being so open, present, and chilled out that it’s really no bother; just keep on walking.
It’s not that you’re blocking out the rain or don’t feel it. You’re just letting it happen. That is equanimity.
A Mental Ninja
You might be thinking “why would I want to calmly walk through a monsoon? That doesn’t sound useful…or enjoyable.”
The point here is not to walk unbothered in a torrential downpour. It’s to bring a stone-cold sense of calmness to everything we do in life.
Training our muscle of equanimity, our muscle of inner smoothness, is almost like training to become a mental ninja.
It’s cultivating a sense of chilled-out composure that sticks with us, no matter what.
The ability to approach even the most stressful situations with a clear, calm, and focused mind is kind of like a superpower (or ninja power).
We all already possess this power. The fascinating part is that we can strengthen it through practice.
Equanimity may sound strange, but it’s very real and very powerful.
And it has the potential to completely transform how we deal with life’s challenges.
Check out this exercise to start cultivating right now.