Meditation: Equanimity (Equi-WHAT-Imy?)

turquoise landscape - equanimity

Meditation: Equanimity (Equi-WHAT-Imy?)

The sixth step in making any movement form a meditation is to be gentle with yourself, developing a mind state called equanimity. See the previous post for all the “Steps to Make Any Move a Meditation.

Be Gentle with Yourself

The sixth step of making any move a meditation isn’t actually a step at all. It’s a state of mind called equanimity, a crucial part of “Shinzen’s Answer to Everything” and an element essential to meditation practice.

In previous posts, I used the word “gently” and talked about training the puppy mind. Equanimity is so fundamental to making any move a meditation that I don’t apologize for the repetition. Our experiences (thoughts and body sensations) do a little dance, then pass away in a process called  impermanence. Equanimity not only allows this to happen, but it helps us see it in real time. By not pushing or pulling on our inner experience, we can be fully  present for our outer experiences, including our movement practice.

One way to develop equanimity is through curiosity. When I’m walking the pupperina and I start to think about politics and judgment arises in response, I note those feelings, but I also try to get curious about it. Can I open to it instead of tightening? Is another sensation under the unpleasantness? Can I relax around it? Even if it feels like a rock in my gut or bricks on my shoulders, there is usually space somewhere. I note that, too.

This process is equanimity.

YOUR TURN: EQUANIMITY

You guessed it: Take a walk. They’re good for you! Use the breath as your focus again. When you find the place in your belly or chest where each breath is most apparent, take a few minutes as you walk to let your mind settle there. Let the natural rhythm of the breath calm you. Once you’re focused there, note other thoughts and sensations arising. Is there pleasure in the breath and the motion of walking? Or do you feel resistance? Are you bored? Whatever comes up, do your best to  acknowledge it. Allow it to well up and pass away. Wandering thoughts or your inability to see this might frustrate you. Acknowledge that as well. Continue for whatever interval of time you like.

I have included more than twenty exercises in the book Make Every Move a Meditation.

This excerpt is from Make Every Move a Meditation by Nita Sweeney which is available now through Amazon and Mango Media.

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