Good morning, my friends. The esteemed Vietnamese Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh was nominated by Martin Luther King, Jr. For the Nobel Peace Prize for his peaceful work to bring an end to the Vietnam War.
He called his work “Engaged Buddhism.” While older monks sought to remain above the fray in the the country’s civil war, Thay, as he’s known to his students today, led a group of younger monks who worked actively to stop the war.
For his trouble, the victorious North Vietnamese exiled him from the country. Their loss was the West’s gain. He established his Plum Village Monastery in France and began sharing his message of peace and compassion with western readers.
My favorite book of his is Peace Is Every Step. The book is filled with wisdom and insight into our struggles as human beings and ways to release ourselves from them.
In that book, Hanh shares a simplified version of a Metta (Loving-Kindness) meditation that I have used off and in for many years. It’s a fantastic mantra for meditation, but is also a fantastic aspirational affirmation.
May I be happy. May I be peaceful. May I be free from suffering.
May all beings be happy. May all beings be peaceful. May all beings be free from suffering.
Just in case no one else has reminded you today, you are awesome!
The standard dictionary definition for equanimity is mental calmness, composure, and evenness of temper, especially in a difficult situation.
In Buddhism, equanimity is one of the four sublime states of being. The Buddhist teacher, Gil Fronsdal, describes it this way.
Neither a thought nor an emotion, it is rather the steady conscious realization of reality’s transience. It is the ground for wisdom and freedom and the protector of compassion and love. While some may think of equanimity as dry neutrality or cool aloofness, mature equanimity produces a radiance and warmth of being. The Buddha described a mind filled with equanimity as “abundant, exalted, immeasurable, without hostility and without ill-will.
Sounds like a quality I’d like to develop more fully, but how?
Broadly speaking, meditation, prayer, or communing with nature can gain you temporary equanimity. The goal, though, is to bottle it so you can take with you into life’s adversity and, “Keep your head when all about you are losing theirs,” as Rudyard Kipling put it.
Buddha described seven qualities that create equanimity. These are qualities you and I can develop with or without Buddhist practice.
Virtue or integrity
If this topic interests you and you’re wanting a little deeper dive, I’ve outlined the seven qualities and how to achieve them here.
Have a fantastic evening, my friends! Thank you all for your support of this blog and my work.
Welcome to the ninth day of 2019. April and I are headed on the road this evening. We’ll be spending a few days in L.A. and then traveling on to Kauai. I’m super pumped. It’s been a couple years since we’ve been to our favorite place on Earth!
It’s interesting how the energy of certain places just resonates with us. We feel like we’ve temporarily stepped out of time and space. We get a moment to breathe again. Where is that for you?
If you know where that is for you, I want you to stop what you’re doing, sit back, and close your eyes.
I want you to think about your favorite place in the world. It might be somewhere close to you or some dream vacation destination. Make sure it’s that one place in the world where you feel your absolute best.
OK. Got it? Close your eyes and take a deep breath. For the next 30 seconds, I want to you to completely experience that place. Visualize the sites, hear the sounds, smell the smells…be there. Be there for 60 seconds.
Open your eyes. I bet you FEEL a lot better than you did 60 seconds ago. Drink in that feeling. Try to maintain that energy as you go through the rest of your day.
Finally, do me a favor. Make plans, as soon as you are able, to return to that place. There’s a reason you feel so good there. You need to spend more time. Whatever it takes, make it happen! You’re worth it!
I believe in your dreams! Meet me halfway and believe in them too.
For tons more motivational content, please visit the TAS website and YouTube channel.