The Equanimity Technique

Posted by LLJCL on 23rd March 2008 in Uncategorized

The Immrama CD instructions start with a very true statement: the best thing to do when listening to their CD is to sit there and do nothing. However, when was the last time you were able to do nothing? The Articles and Tips page at Immrama has a wealth of techniques to help you make the transition from the hectic life of doing into the serenity of being. Having spent quite a bit of time at meditation myself, I would like to offer one more technique that I have found immensely useful when using the CDs. I call it the Equanimity Technique.

First the technique

  1. Put on the Immrama Insight CD
  2. Close your eyes
  3. Do nothing
  4. Before long you will find yourself thinking about something.
  5. Note whether you crave or reject the thought. If you find yourself drawn towards the thought, then you crave it. If you find yourself trying to get away from the thought, you are rejecting it
  6. Go back to step3

Now the background

There are many, many ways to motivate The Equanimity Technique. Below, I choose a few in hopes that one might speak to you.

Buddhist sublime states

Theravada Buddhism speaks of 4 Sublime States:

  1. loving-kindness
  2. compassion
  3. symphathetic joy
  4. equanimity

All of these states rely on each other, and in fact any of them are powerful medicine for craving or aversion. I find it simplest to simply take a running thought and discharge it’s power by noting whether it is craving or aversion. Amazingly, in the simple process of noting the nature of a thought as craving or aversion, you are no longer being bandied about by it but seeing it with equanimity! This simple fact is clearly described in “The Power of Mindfulness” by Nyanaponika Thera, an articulate and accomplished Theravadan Monk.

Thynn Thynn, another modern Buddhist teacher supports this position as well in her book “Living Meditation, Living Insight”

Thoughts and emotions by themselves are just momentary and possess no life of their own. By clinging to them, you give them life.

Well, that’s enough of the Buddhist approach to equanimity. Let’s look at some more reasons why equanimity is a good thing to apply in your goal to try to do nothing.

Polarity

Let’s get modern and talk about Polarity. For a thorough bridge from ancient wisdom which shows neutrality as The Great Strength, the writings of Randolph Stone, developer of Polarity Therapy are highly recommended.

But I want to talk about polarity from my own perspective. Let’s first look at electricity. Electricity is powerful, it helps our quality of life or can strike us down. What is electricity? You have positive and negative charges. These might be the way you look at the thoughts in your head. You see some as positive and some as negative. You crave certain ones and flee the others. But there is a third hidden giant in electricity and magnetism. And that giant is the property of neutrality. It is hidden because you dont buy neutral magnets. You dont have a neutral wire from your speakers. But it is always there as a property. A silent beingness. If you want to be electricity, you have to assume that neutrality because the positive is not all that electricity is and neither is the negative.

Let’s move on to reproduction. A man is an OK being. Likewise for a female. Further construction of beings requires a balancing of male and female. Thus again, the hidden third factor is inferred. And quite a third factor it is. And note how ALIVE this third factor is. It is not located anywhere in time or space. It is an OCCURENCE which coincides with all the Cosmic Opposite Play. Now wouldn’t you like to see yourself as an infinite occurence with no anchor point in time or space? Wouldnt you like to be the source and substance of electricity and reproduction?

Now let’s look at martial arts. Have you ever seen an 80 year old man completely calm while all sorts of energetic youngsters try to best him in fighting? With very little motion, he is controlling a furious hurricane of activity. In keeping with the theme of this site, he is operating from The Quiet Center and the young fighters are flitting about on the edges of the cyclone. The cyclone is apparently powerful. But center is truly powerful. One slight move at the center radiates countless effects at the periphery. Simply by noticing which direction our mind is going, we are using the center of the cyclone to control the outer Tasmanian Devil.

Well, there you have it

I’ve discussed the technique that I use and love. Doing nothing does sounds boring. But there is a crucial difference between being bored and being peaceful. Boredom is an impatient expectancy about the present moment. Peace is thoughtless acceptance of the moment. As Sailor Bob‘s book says: “What’s wrong with right now unless you start thinking about it”?

Chogyam Trungpa said the same thing but in a different way: “You have to do something to be bored”

And I will close with a 3rd perspective based on the Equanimity Technique. Since boredom is a thought, note what sort of thought it is (craving or aversion) and then return to step 2. Pretty soon, you will drop into a black pool of stillness and have left the thought of being bored far behind. And that is because these CDs are designed to take you there. The same thing could happen without the CDs but you would probably get exasperated and give up before that would happen. with the Immrama CDs, you will notice from the very first session. Or you get all your bread back.

Advanced Stuff

One last thing. You are going to notice that certain thoughts contain both craving and aversion. Let’s take anger. Let’s say that someone threw a mudpie at you at recess and let’s say you got angry about this. On the one hand, you might be repulsed by the embarrassment of the event. But on the other hand you are tying yourself into a knot of fury over it, which means you are replaying the incident over and over and getting more and more pissed every time… and loving every minute of it… that’s right. It’s called victim philosophy. There is an entire genre of music called Blues music which shows how twisted we are. The non Buddha mind loves to lament.

But through The Equanimity Technique and the Immrama CDs, we are going to extract ourselves from the realm of bittersweet and feast on the Eternal Creative Force itself.

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