Posted by: Philip Carr-Gomm | October 12, 2007

Equanimity

A spirituality or religion should offer us an anchor in a world of change. When it does it connects us to an awareness that however much the world outside us changes, there is the Changeless that stands at the centre of the wheel. This awareness fosters equanimity.

I remember when I was a teenager reading the I-Ching how struck I was by the idea of cyclicity – of how things in the world of appearances and Nature change cyclically. Then with studying Druidry the observance of the eightfold seasonal year brought this home even more.

Looking back I can see how this understanding has helped me weather the ups and downs of life, and as I watch the news with stories about the economy going into a downturn, I can remember a lifetime of news broadcasts, which can be summarised as ‘Things are looking up! Things are looking bleak! Things are looking up!’ and so on.

The sense of inner calm or equanimity that accepting the cyclical nature of reality brings is one of the gifts spirituality can give to the world. Why? Because without that sense of inner poise, connection, equilibrium, we are pulled this way and that by our feelings and anxieties. In a word we suffer. A spiritual way that fosters equanimity offers a means to overcome suffering.

It would be fruitful to contemplate the distinction between fostering detachment and fostering equanimity, but that’s enough for today!


Responses

  1. -about the eightfold seasonal year’s observance : does it really not move? Isn’t it on a spiral and not on a circle? That means change in a no-change?
    – “in a word we suffer. A spiritual…to overcome suffering” : really? Why overcoming suffering? Is there not so, that when suffer comes, spirituality gives us the possibilty to discern it, but not to overcome : to destroy it gently, to keep very cool and at the end, it doesn’t exist anymore?

  2. I think that everything in the universe is changing (as the Buddhists claim) – there is no Essence, only Energies. But I agree completely that the Taoist insight into the nature of flux and reflux is deeply comforting. But I don’t want to escape – I want to joyously ride the tide of becoming.


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