Our human life will never be without sorrows, struggles or difficulties. The Buddha called our mixed bag of sorrows, beauty, joy and great difficulties, the eight worldly winds: gain and loss, pleasure and pain, praise and blame, fame and disrepute. It is possible to discover Equanimity, the seventh factor of awakening, not apart from, but in the midst of these changing winds.
Equanimity is a most powerful capability in the unfoldment of spiritual life. It is the ability to trust one’s abiding capacity to meet circumstances with clarity, balance and a view that sees widely and deeply, without grasping the pleasant and without fear, reactivity to, resistance or resentment of the difficult.
This ability develops not through forcing or by will, but through the penetrating realization of the nature of being alive. We can trust in the possibility of transformation that comes through that great heart that sees beyond the personalization of the pain that takes it to be about “me” and “mine,” and sense that it is the shared experience to which we are all heir. The miracle of spiritual practice, it is said, is this change of heart.
Equanimity is not indifference or the setting up of distance from the difficulty so that it can be borne. It is not cold—it is warm hearted because it understands our conjoined humanity with compassion. his is the invitation of Dharma practice. We come closer to what is true and are more deeply embedded in and connected to life.