Equinimity

I have been meditating on equanimity this past week. The focus began because I wanted some peace from all the turmoil swirling in our country and within my community.

I couldn’t escape a feeling of dread as I listened to the possibilities that the Supreme Court may take away some of women’s hard-won rights. There’s a feeling of futility as I listen to commentaries on the power plays in Congress that could keep them from providing the support so many families need. “Those people” aren’t even trying to love their neighbor.

But closer to home, I watched as people who I know are trying to live Godly lives lose sight of love and compassion and, instead, push their own agendas causing pain and suffering for themselves and those around them. It would be so easy to just write them off also.

Even as I felt frustration and judgment rise within me, I knew I was also guilty of leaving behind my intention to love God, self, and neighbor. I returned to my breath and tried to still my mind.  

Buddhists claim that equanimity is the “ground for wisdom and freedom and the protector of compassion and love.” It allows us to have both clear insight and inner balance. [1] I can’t help seeing what is happening in the world around me. I don’t want to try to avoid seeing suffering by closing my eyes. What I do want is to maintain an internal equilibrium where I can fully experience my feelings without causing harm to myself or others. I want my rational mind to be able to use what I’m feeling to determine if there is something I need to do in the situation.

Equanimity is the desire of my heart. To maintain inner peace within the chaos of life. To stay grounded in God’s love. To act with compassion towards myself and others.

In the following selection from a new translation of Psalm 27 by Rabbi Jamie Arnold [2], I hear God’s voice asking: “what is your deepest desire?”

Your Deepest Desire?

Voice whispers through my heart and says,

            Seek my face.

I will seek your face, the hidden light,

             reflected in every face, revealing light.

Do not let anger distract me from seeing your majestic face

            tucked away in the creases of faces furrowed

            by anger in the face of injustice

            and a fear of being forgotten.

My father, my mother, yours, all beloved

            parental protectors will die.

            time will orphan me if I live that long.

And yet, magnetism prevails, a law of nature

            in-gathering, out-glowing

            showing all the wisdom of your ways

            paths paved by and for service and song

Don’t let worry distort these nefesh-soul, body-based truths

            with false testimonies, hyperboles, and half-truths

            blowhards fermenting fears to safeguard their power.

 Our Declaration:

Lulei.  What if? What if it were not so?

 Doubt. Division. Danger.  Death.  As if!

I choose to live as if I have the courage

            to act in the face of doubt

            to see the hidden connections and blessing

            to belong and be beholden to the living land, eretz chaim.

Together, let us draw new kinds of lines in the shifting sands.

I choose to trust you, to empower you, to re-see you,

            to celebrate your courageous heart, amatz lev

            to reshape this longing in your likeness.

Psalm 27

[1} See the entire Psalm translated by Rabbi Arnold here.
[2} Insight Meditation Center

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