Now more than ever I get to use the tools I learned in Vipassana meditation, that is, to remain aware and maintain equanimity in the face of stress.
Now more than ever we ALL must remain aware and maintain equanimity in our lives.
Aware: having knowledge; conscious; cognizant; informed; alert; knowledgeable; sophisticated.
Equanimity: mental or emotional stability or composure, especially under tension or strain; calmness; equilibrium.
Vipassana meditation is a technique that cultivates awareness and, with practice, we learn to remain equanimous to the sensations, thoughts, and experiences that show up during mediation and ultimately in our day to day.
Can we stay calm amongst the chaos? Can we see life as it is without judgement or reaction, simply observing it, and take right action when necessary?
What does it mean to take right action? It means taking actions to live a life of integrity. Below are Buddha’s ideas of right action. These common sense actions are comparable to the 10 commandments:
1. Refrain from taking the life of any being
2. Refrain from taking what is not freely given
3. Refrain from inappropriate sexual conduct
4. Refrain from lying
5. Refrain from divisive speech
6. Refrain from using harsh words
7. Refrain from idle talk (gossip)
8. Refrain from coveting other’s possessions and positions
9. Refrain from resenting the good fortune of others
10. Refrain from holding a closed mind about things one doesn’t fully understand
This is hard work. A challange I am willing and able to take on daily. To me this is Sexy.
A big challenge considering that so much is happening in the world now. Well, the truth is, so much has been happening in the world and will continue to happen. It feels like now with social media and all the technology tools available, we are waking up at a faster rate, and becoming more aware of seeing life as it really is and not only as we know it to be, or how we think it should be.
We are constantly being distracted with work, TV, internet, shopping, family, etc. All these things in our life leave little to no room to be concerned with the bigger issues happening all around the world.
When we awaken to life as it really is, when we see life outside our comfort zone, outside our little bubble, the initial reaction might be like WTF? All my beliefs and life as I know is crumbling down right before my eyes OMG what I’m I to do?!!! In that moment we can choose to be victims or to be victors, we can choose to freak out, react, and go into worry or anger, or we can choose to breathe, observe, stay present, and take right action.
Right in that moment it serves us to remain aware and maintain equanimity.
Yesterday was a pivotal moment in history, the #womensmarch united over 5 million humans around the world to march the streets of their cities, to raise awareness of women’s rights. Click HERE to learn more about the march as I will not go into details about it in this post. Also go HERE to learn how marches throughout history have brought change in politics.
The day before was another pivotal moment in history, the inauguration of the 45th president of the United States.
The reason I bring these two current events up is because I’d like to use them as examples of how we can practice remaining aware and maintaining equanimity in the midst of the chaos.
So, we have the inauguration. Some people riot, get angry, worried, are in fear and distressed. They project that anger and fear onto the streets, buildings, online, and onto others. Some do not even express it and keep it inside burning and growing.
Others are rejoicing and bash those who are in fear.
Can you see how neither side is healthy for the body, mind, and spirit? How both sides are taking action but not right action?
One side does not accept life as it is, aversion sets in, thus the negative emotions arise. On the other side you accept life as it is, but you are so proud, attachment to being right sets in, and you want to make sure everyone knows it and ego speaks and bashes everyone who is not on your side making them feel even worse.
Clinging to a preference, whether it is from attachment or aversion, creates suffering. This is also the precise moment when you can grow by choosing to recognize attachment or aversion for what it is.
When we are caught up in attachment/craving or aversion we allow these feeling to interfere with our ability to experience things as they are. Even when things are painful and difficult, there is a benefit to fully experiencing them as they happen. When you do you are released. You do not have to carry them with you in an unfinished state. This process of experiencing the difficulties now allows you to begin to heal. Learning to be in the moment, complete with your preferences, recognizing cravings and aversion, is like a soothing balm on a wound.
"Things are as they are, and I have a choice about how I react to them"
I have seen a big shift in myself these last couple of weeks after my meditation experience. I am calmer and I am observing much more before I react or respond to a situation. I am taking my meditation practice of staying aware and equanimous to the sensations and thoughts that arise into my daily living.
I am observing both sides of the women’s march and inauguration on my FB feeds, and I see how some women are all for it and others against it. They comment on pictures or videos and both sides begin to impose their beliefs on the other. In my opinion, THIS is what causes much of the suffering and separation in the world – the attitude of - I have my opinions and my beliefs, they are right and whoever doesn’t believe them can go to hell. What if we let go of the need to be right, and started observing objectively?
In the end I feel most people want to be happy, at peace, and free. And so we need to create that within so we can project that out into the world. As within, so without.
Before Vipassana experience I would worry, I was in fear, and angry about the presidential results. And now, I am neither happy nor worried. It is what it is, I will remain aware and on top of the changes that will come and do my best to remain calm and take right action. I choose to do my work to be a light in the dark. I strive to be a leader of love, acceptance, and compassion.
This is why I am writing so much about meditation because it really is an excellent tool that teaches internal peace, acceptance, and happiness.
Thank you for taking the time to read my thoughts. Here are a couple videos I watched this weekend that I agree with. They bring a fresh new perspective around current events.
Much love and respect,