I first heard the term ‘Equanimous Mind’ in a 10 day Vipassana course. It is explained thoroughly with many analogies in the course. As simply as I can put it – an equanimous mind is a mind that remains balanced in all situations, negative or positive. A mind that neither likes nor dislikes, instead remains neutral. This balance of the mind comes from inner strength or stability.
I found that idea really interesting! Is it possible for the mind to be neutral? I had never thought about that before…
Learning About The Mind and The Body
Vipassana has been pivotal in my understanding of the human life – made up of Mind and Body. Actually, I have never ever thought about the workings of the mind or any other part of my body actually. Vipassana has helped and continues to help me understand how the human body, which includes the mind, work.
I had never heard of the word ‘equanimous’ before so it stuck with me and I spent my days in the course contemplating its meaning. What is a neutral mind? In our minds, life is categorised as good or bad, like or dislike, success and failures. I was clear about how I felt when I liked or disliked something. But I never considered what it felt like to be neutral.
I learnt that our thoughts affect our body, bringing about certain sensations. Sensations we then associate with the thoughts. It also works vice versa… Through our senses, we perceive everything around us and this perception causes sensations to arise in our body which affects thought. It was the first time I ever thought about myself that way. Since I had the time, I contemplated the meaning of this ‘equanimous mind’. How does one feel when the mind is equanimous? I continued to investigate…
Relationships Hold The Key
I decided to use the relationships I had as my ‘feeling’ yardstick because I felt strongly for people. I thought about people I liked and people I didn’t like and noticed the sensations associated with the thoughts. Then I started to think of people whom I may feel neutral towards. I was surprised that I could easily think of a friend whom I could associate equanimity with.
I had known her for almost 15 years and we have seen each other through the different phases in our lives. We don’t hang out regularly but we shared the same group of friends so we have gotten to know each other well over the years. I have always felt a sincerity from her when she spoke with me. She is a sweetheart who loves her friends very much. Her friends are her family.
Reflecting on our relationship and my experiences with her, I realised that thinking of her brought about a sense of calm and pleasantness… I didn’t feel the sensations I was familiar with like or dislike… it was quite strange, I thought. So, is it equanimity then? Was it so simple? I wondered.
I spent the rest of my time at the course contemplating our relationship and comparing it over and over again with other relationships I had and indeed the sensations were different. And so, as a start, I decided to associate equanimity with this friend.
Changing The Way We Think
I didn’t know then what I had set in motion… That trail of thinking and noticing sensations, trying to understand the meaning of an ‘Equanimous Mind’ was actually an exercise in understanding how the mind and body affect each other.
It was the start of changing the way I thought about life, myself and the world we live in.
You see, the mind affects matter (the body) and matter (the body) affects the mind. They are connected by the breath. This is the most fundamental fact of you and me – the human being – which most are ignorant of. Because we are not taught this. We are taught only how to pay attention to things outside of ourselves, not within. Being able to fully grasp what this means at an experiential level, will change the way you think.
Have you ever noticed the sensations on/in your body when you think about things? Or when you think about something, have you noticed the sensations that arise?
Want to know more about my experiences and how you can learn from them? Let’s talk… Drop me a line.