They find fault in one speaking much,
They find fault in one speaking moderately.
No one in this world is not found at fault.
There has been, there is,
And there will be no person
Who is only criticized,
Or only praised.
I wear a necklace everyday with the Four Immeasurables engraved on it — in Sanskrit on one side, English on the other. It is rather my hope that perhaps the constant rubbing of the prayer for love, compassion, joy and equanimity will somehow rub off on to me and stick.
The one quality I hope for most and the one that most eludes me is equanimity. If only I could be even-tempered and even-handed with all my dealings in the world! I wish I could maintain a calm inner-state no matter what struggles I encounter or conflicts I face. If only I could approach all of it with openness, calmness, candor, kindness and curiosity.
I'd like to order up that personality. And can I get it To Go?
There is plenty in this world to ruffle the spirit. There are jobs to be lost, cars to break down, bills to pay, sickness to fight, children to guide, lovers to tend, employers to impress, friends to help and family to tolerate. Amidst all of that, it's no surprise that things are constantly going wrong. You simply can't make everyone happy all of the time, and you can't prevent bad things from happening, no matter how large or how small.
But how to approach it all with even-mindedness and balance? How to remain unruffled when the winds are blowing?
You must seek refuge within. The world outside is full of uncertainty and change. You have absolutely no control over whether you'll get cancer tomorrow or lose your job, to a certain extent. I mean, you can exercise and not smoke, work hard, be helpful and pleasant — and yet you still can't prevent either of these things from happening anyway.
Some events are simply out of your control. Well, most are.
It's a very disturbing concept. "What do you mean I'm not in control? That's bullshit!" I hear you, hell, I hear my own mind rebelling against my words. "I'll show you! Watch how hard I'm going to control this life of yours, lady!"
You can go on and think that, rant and rage, work and dig at it, and exhaust yourself in the process while you still encounter some sort of tragedy or suffering, misfortune or irritant. The only peace is the peace within, that you yourself have cultivated.
Rude comment on a blog?
Meh. I shrug it off. I've listened to my readers enough now that I get it. All of the comments on my blogs are reflections of the commenters, not me. Now I cock my head to the side and say, "How very interesting!" as I try to figure out what's going on in that person's psyche that they would react this way.
Bad day at work?
I can't make everybody like me or my writing at work either. By the time I've written a piece of advertising copy and it goes to print or appears on the web, hundreds of hands have written on it, commented on it, changed it, disparaged it, praised it, loved it, hated it, didn't notice it, remarked on it, and re-written it. Am I going to let my life and happiness be swayed by the changing tides of clients, bosses, account people, editing departments, product specialists and other writers? My happiness would be set out to sea if I did.
Better to watch the process with equanimity, as if it were a separate entity than myself. These words on paper are certainly from me, of me, but they are not me. They change once they hit the paper, they change once the reader sees them, digests them, and filters them through their brain and the memories therein.
What my words become after that is entirely out of my control.
And so I will cultivate this equanimity. I will sit and quietly observe. I will watch the tide of my emotions as they crest and subside. I will turn my focus away from my own thoughts and see what is happening outside of it. I will notice how very different the world is from my own view, my own feelings, my own experiences.
And I will marvel at it all.
I will not own other's feelings nor their reactions to me. I will not own my successes and failures. I attach myself to none of this. I will not be washed out to sea.
I will stay here.
In the calm waters of my mind. My mind is an ocean, fathomless, deep and still.
I will practice this, and this alone will last. This alone endures.