Day 15 marks the beginning of Week Three of 40 Days of Yoga, the week of Equanimity. In a lot of ways I feel as though the concept of equanimity is difficult to explain. But in the moment when you experience it, you wonder how you might have ever lived without it.
Following an inspirational meeting with the rest of the 40 Days Crew, I practiced a little yoga. It was the first time I practiced without attachment or judgment. I wasn’t bothered by how tired my muscles felt. I wasn’t worried about the limitations of my left hamstring. I was simply practicing. It felt unbelievable. It felt brand new. Although my body was active, my mind was completely calm. It was among the most peaceful moments in my life.
And in was gone in an instant.
Well, not in an instant but certainly before the end of the night.
Finding that perfect balance in your life when everything feel right and just, when each moment feels destined and spontaneous at the same time, is no easy task. If it were that simple, the whole world would be at peace right now. So it seems fitting that my first encounter with equanimity was so brief. Those moments of sweetness, though, are what keep us hopeful from one moment to the next.
So often people go out searching for their perfect balance in distant places, feeling as though their equanimity could be found somewhere else if only they could just get to that certain place. I’ve read a lot of books and participated in a lot of conversations where the conclusion was the understanding that everything you need is within. But even just the briefest sliver of experiencing inner awareness and peacefulness brought a more vivid understanding of what it means to have everything you need within.
I’m beginning to understand what all of this work is about – the asana practice, the meditation practice, the journaling, the mindful eating – they are all stepping stones on the path to equanimity. To me, equanimity feels like alignment with universal truth. It feels like respect, patience, gratitude, and wisdom all in the same moment. It validates a personal revolution or an inner search for enlightenment. Maybe we all need a sliver of equanimity to find the courage and desire to keep striving for it as a life constant.
Despite the fact that glorious feeling is gone for the moment, I look forward to working toward it every day. I’m curious to see how I might experience life in a new, equanimitous way (yes, it’s quite possible I just made that word up, but I’m fine with it).
Like in my mediation practice when my mind is jumping from thought to thought in a sporadic and often manic way, I just keep reminding myself that those thoughts or worries or ideas will be waiting for me when I return from meditation. So at the moment, all I need to do is be here and meditate.
And in my yoga practice when my thighs are burning from holding a pose, and I’m tempted to give in to the pain and come out of the pose, I now find myself wondering what might actually happen if I stayed in the pose? What am I so afraid of? Do I worry I might cry? Do I worry I might collapse? Do I worry I might tear the muscle in two? I actually have no idea what might happen. It’s quite likely that I will survive. My equanimitous mind is curious what happens when I just stay.
I look forward to reporting back.