Updated: Nov 1, 2018
Along the spectrum of ‘inner development’ seekers, spiritual enlightenment can often be met with a plethora of challenges. Somantics being one of them… the fact that I used the term spiritual might have already lost a few. Anyway, one problem is that often transcendental beauty is hung in front of us like a piece of carrot cake with the subconscious slogan ‘it’s all too easy to take a bite’ … ‘10 minutes of meditation per day can change your life’, etc. Whilst transformative change is certainly achievable, it must be noted, this just might take a few eons.
Whilst we can be quietly mindful one day and a tumultuous existential mess the next, it is wise to look towards our relationship with society and all its happenings. I can meditate in the morning, stretch and mindfully observe the steam from the kettle glide poetically into the atmosphere, drink some chamomile tea whilst contemplating all of life’s vast interconnectedness, then at night be drinking 5 pints of lager before tucking into a KFC on the way home. The topsy turvy relationship with my own inner spiritual progress and my westernised habits can create a juxtaposed reality of inner peace and external grease.
So, although mindfulness has certain benefits from saving yourself from inner torture to rescuing a local lady bird from an oncoming car splash, it must be pointed out that even this is still in scientific infancy. That infancy translates onto some of its practitioners. And those spiritual babies need to be bottle fed.
This brings me onto equanimity, a concept that seemingly refines the concept of non-judgement further still. A concept a little overlooked in science and one that in a recent article titled ‘equanimity – the go to word in 2018’, seems to piece together the relationship between mindfulness and wellbeing.
Imagine the instant connection a magnet yields when it gets closer to another metal or magnet with opposite poles. The magnet represents you: whatever you ‘like’ or ‘dislike’ your mind connects almost instantaneously with a thought, feeling or emotion. You are subsequently vulnerable to acting upon these ‘likes’ and ‘dislikes’ or as Buddhists label ‘attachments’ and ‘aversions’. Your entire existence and interaction in society is fuelled by these feelings. The problem with instantaneously connecting to your likes is that you will do whatever it takes to prolong this feeling and want them again and again. Therefore, when this feeling stops, you suffer. It is also problematic as if a sensation is disliked you may become unsatisfied, frustrated, angry or full of hatred etc. You may avoid, reject, suppress or dismiss creating a limited view of reality and one that is also vulnerable to suffering.
Therefore, what equanimity profoundly does, in a way, is reverse the poles that repel the other metals, creating that ever so subtle barrier to the object. The object could be inanimate, a thought or a person or situation. With equanimity, instead of instantaneously connecting with your ‘attachment’ and ‘aversions’ you buffer slightly. This slight buffering is significant as it not only allows you to view your own emotions more objectively, it also enables space for you to be better equipped to emotionally regulate and thus gives you opportunity for wise, compassionate action. This is where mindfulness is fairly limited without this understanding. At the moment much of the non-judgement in mindfulness is like simply ‘not judging the judgements’, rather than turning towards them and dissolving them with wisdom! The acknowledgement of your own feeling tones and then being able to let go with a sense of freedom regardless of their strength is crucial.
That is equanimity – this is not a new concept but it is certainly one that is not made fully explicit in some mindfulness courses. This could be the crucial profundity that mindfulness teaches – although when made explicit it could have even more impact.
Is the wisdom being fully translated? How many of you have grappled with the term equanimity? Are you Equanimous? Your country needs you!
This was first published @https://www.alustforlife.com/mental-health/well-being/mindful-minutes-followed-by-mindless-hours