Many people believe equanimity is one sure shot path to peaceful life. By equanimity, what we usually mean is being unruffled in face of painful experiences of life. Most people understand equanimity as ‘not feeling’ pain or pleasure, being equally poised in face of either or both. Equanimity is often misunderstood as a practice that helps to avoid feeling painful or hurting emotions. But if equanimity is living life like a zombie without any feeling, is there any purpose to living or is life there to escaping from living? Although we say it is better not be carried away by either pain or joy, we do not seek equanimity when we are overjoyed or blissful. We get into such practices only when we are in depth of pain. True equanimity means feeling everything, allowing yourself to experience the depths of pain and the heights of pleasure. Universe is created for us to experience it fully, not to escape from it in the name of spiritual enlightenment.
Equanimity is one of the most profound and wonderful teachings of eastern philosophy which is often misunderstood. It is profound because it teaches us that life is for living and experiencing everything, not escaping anything. It teaches us that pain is not wrong, bad or something to be avoided at any cost. Pain is just as momentary as pleasure, so if you just allow painful emotions to be felt, you can move on to the next experience. Any painful emotion or experience just rises up like waves in an ocean to subside in a short time, if only we just allow it. It is we, who hold on to that experience, trying to avoid, fix or find a solution so we don’t have to face pain ever again. Equanimity teaches us to just stay vulnerable to pain, just as we stay open to pleasure or happiness.
True equanimity helps us to stay peaceful in life. Imagine just for one moment you do not fear pain and you are ready to feel everything. How would your life be? There is no need for any struggle, or to fight or avoid all those things that may cause you pain. No need to fear that others may cheat, deceive or take advantage or get better of you. No need to control others in an effort to avoid feeling in their power. No need to compete with others to avoid feeling less than them. Whatever happens you just experience and feel through the emotions in it, so you can move on. So what is left in your life experience then? Just calm and peace even as you flow through painful or pleasurable experiences of life.