Through difficult times it can be hard to maintain an evenness of mind as disturbing thoughts and emotions pervade our minds. Equanimity is that radiant stillness of mind, an even calm which acts as a reference point for our being, the baseline, if you like, from which our emotional life is grounded. As we go about our lives we are constantly distracted by our conditioning and outside influences creating a tension which pulls us away from this baseline. In each situation we encounter, the way we should act and feel about a situation is subject to a prior codification, the further we are away from the norm the more tension we are subject to and the further we travel from the baseline. So too as we go on filling our minds with memes and code we travel away from our steady state and without awareness and self realisation we seldom return to it. Through mindfulness and awareness we can maintain the equanimous state as each disturbing thought or emotion is received by our minds like the ocean waves crashing on the stillness of the beach, we can observe these and feel the impact but not become disturbed by it through practice. Still further we can become aware of what we are filling our minds with, those influences and bits of information that may only be small but through time the effect is cumulative and our mind fills up. Just like one drop of water in a bucket the effect is insignificant but over time the bucket fills up, we need to pay attention to how we fill our bucket.
I was milling a couple of thoughts around in my head this week after reading a bit of Hegel and of Osho too. At birth we are as a clean palette, uncontaminated by any life experience or influence, then the society and surroundings we are thrust into begin to shape us into the individual that it needs, an individual in the loosest sense of the word required to take their place in the order, adopting the memes passed from generation to generation. We learn to accept the roles and little boxes into which we are placed, we learn to be a son or daughter, to adopt a certain position, follow a certain creed or religion, learning the rules and adapting to become another automaton. In doing so we lose our awareness because society dislikes awareness as this leads to questioning of the rules not going along with them. We are fooled by society into thinking that our happiness is something that we can achieve by following the rules, gaining that successful career, fancy house, flash car etc. Each new must have item is surpassed by the next the advertisers and marketers sucking us in to believe that this is the way to happiness. Happiness is not something that can be bought it doesn’t exist in these items it exists within and it is through maintaining our awareness that we lift ourselves from the society we are locked into and enables us to see behind the mask, behind the games that are constantly being played out to manipulate us into conforming. For instance we may get that uneasy feeling when introduced to a new social group, feeling the need to fit in and so we quickly learn the ways of the new group, the rules of the game and we play. By maintaining awareness we are aware of our feelings, observe them and are able to let them go rather than do societies bidding we go against the grain. However this is difficult and history is littered with those that have questioned the rules, regarded as heretics, persecuted as society does not tolerate heretics. We crucified Jesus, beheaded John the Baptist, poisoned Socrates and we burned Joan of Arc didn’t we?