Tag Archives: equanimity

The 52: Lesson Eight — Still Judging Yourself?

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We do not judge the people we love.

So wrote the French existential philosopher and playwright, Jean-Paul Sartre.

These words hold a great fascination for me — and maybe for you as well.  If we see a world where everyone is connected in divine spirit to everyone else and that love is the binding element, then wouldn’t we suspend the habit judging of each other?  We would still hold the capacity to witness, to stand by in a state of equanimity and observe all that is around us, but we might engage other thoughts in the process.  Perhaps we would think of compassion, forgiveness, kindness.

Now this is the best part:  If we do not judge the people we love, what about judging ourselves?  If we don’t love ourselves then how can we possibly love others?  Nothing is more important than learning to love ourselves if we are to spread love from the place within our own hearts.

Remember, we are all on the caravan of love.  All of us are welcome.  No one is left out or judged or thought to be too small.  Groucho Marx, the humorist, famously said:

I would refuse to join any club that would have me as a member.

Many of us would have to admit to this feeling, such is our measure of unworthiness.  So let’s just say that, if you want to join the Club, your invitation is waiting and ready.  There are no enrollment fees, no tests to take, no monthly minimum, no nothing.  You may not know it, but your seat is already there, waiting.  With open arms, you are greeted.  All you need is a kind and loving heart and the willingness to know who you are in the truth within you. How about it?  Can you love yourself enough to join?

Let’s continue some lessons in non-judging:

  • Whenever you encounter judging yourself, freeze the image you are holding.  In your mind, separate from the person in that image.  Imagine that you could just watch as a witness.  Walk around the one you are judging and engage compassion, forgiveness, equanimity.  Let those feelings replace whatever judgment originally resided there. Be kind.
  • Take that person, you, and let the circle of love lighten and brighten the one you see.  Let it wash away any negative feeling.
  • Now see yourself transported into the place where Love is all there is.  Into the Club, if you like.  Here, you are constantly bathed in the love of all around you.  How does that feel?

I can remember times when I said or did something so embarrassing or humiliating and, whenever I thought of that time, my body would literally shiver with anxiety.  That feeling took residence in my body and mind all over again.  Over and over.  I kept replaying it.  And for what?  To instill the negative emotion deeper and deeper?  What a mistake that was.

We will delve more deeply into this subject in the future when we begin actually monitoring our thoughts and erasing the habit of retaining those old images.

How does it feel to stop berating and judging yourself? How does it feel to shine in the light of Divine Love?  How does it feel to know that you are, and always have been, loved at the core of your being?

With love and namaste, Deanne

For more thoughts, go to www.deannemincer.com and join me on facebook

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The 52: Lesson Thirty –Rest in Equanimity, Even When Everything Else is Chaos

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“Equanimity — The quality of being calm and even-tempered, having composure, neither elated nor depressed, especially in difficult times. Other words that come to mind are unattached and undisturbed. Ancient Vedanta writings teach us that equanimity is our true, eternal nature, apart from time and space, where we rest in the peace and love within our hearts.  While equanimity is well-defined in Indian teachings, yoga, and Buddhism, it is spoken of in other spiritual belief systems as well.  St. Paul writes in Philippians 4:11-13: I have learned to be content with whatever I have.  I know what it is to have little and I know what it is to have plenty. 

Sri Sathya Sai Baba said:

Let the wave of memory, the storm of desire, the fire of emotion pass through without affecting your equanimity.

What would it be like, if the ups and downs, the constant shifting of good and bad, did not disturb your innermost  being?  What if you could see all of these changes as nothing more than fluctuations on a screen, as a kind of movie playing out before your eyes?  For most of us, this is a tall order.  Life and death, good and bad, war and peace, love and hate — all present the challenges. They threaten our inner perch of peace.  Many of us come crashing down, falling from that safe perch, and we are gripped in the drama of these life events.  Some are able to hold forth with steady wisdom most of the time, then something dramatic occurs and our resolve crumbles.  If we know to honor and respect ourselves, setting aside harsh judgment, and remembering the ways of being human, we can safely fly back to our perch and remain gentle and kind to ourselves. We fell off the perch for a while.  So what?

In the Bhagavad Gita, the Lord says to the seeker, Arjuna:

One who leaves behind all desires emerging from the mind

and is content in the Self by the Self is said to be one of steady wisdom.

Swami Gurumayi adds the warning to “Watch your own mind.  Never allow it to get carried away by either pleasure or pain.  On the path of yoga, the path of steady wisdom, the path of right action, steady wisdom is crucial.  Become a sage of steady wisdom.”  In our “steady wisdom,” we discover a safe retreat.  We can rest there with trust.  But be sure to note that equanimity does not mean losing compassion in life or letting go of helping others, but instead, all that we do comes from a place of peace and calm within.

To imagine that we can control the constant changes that occur around us is a hopeless desire.  We can only control our reaction to the “play” of the world, resolving to be the quiet space in the midst of stormy seas.  Sometimes the buffeting of the winds is too much, and we react.  The pain of grieving, the unfairness of events, the fear for out future, or the depths of depression become too much to bear.  But yet, most of us recover our equanimity even if it takes time to do so.

My yoga students have an expression.  They say, ” I fell out of the boat.”  The story goes that we are all rowing the boat across the sea of samsara, across the sea of the world of change.  At the helm of the boat is our spiritual guide, it may be a guru or Christ, Allah or God or, (how about this ?), you, as the Self.  Every once in a while, we find the turbulence has become too much and we fall, headlong, into the sea.  There we flail about, fear drowning, sharks circle us.  We doubt that we will survive.  Then, as if by some miracle, a hand reaches down.  Out savior (or maybe even our Higher Self) pulls us up without any effort at all, smiles upon us, and puts us back to our rowing position, safe and on a steady course.

Seneca, the Roman philosopher, wrote:

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.

So take pause before taking an action or speaking a word.  Are you responding and acting from a place of equanimity?  This is a worthwhile practice and the benefits grow greater day by day.  And, on those occasions when you act or speak in haste, forgive yourself — then look to return to your pleasant and calm perch of peace.  It will be there for you without fail.

With love and namaste, Deanne

For more, go to www.deannemincer.com