Category: Equanimity

Equanimity by Joseph Goldstein


This evening we will do the last of the Brahamviarjas.

Is the meditation on equanimity.


Equanimity is that quality of mind of impartiality.


Its far enemy, its opposite, it something that’s quite familiar, the reactive mind.


Equanimity is that quality of mind which receives everything without preference for one or another.

Perhaps best understood in the teachings of the 3rd Zen Patriarch.

Famous lines, “The great way is not difficult for those that have no preferences.”

The mind is that open, that receptive, that impartial.

This tremendous strength, tremendous ease.


Sometimes when we do the equanimity meditation, especially with the particular words that are used in the meditation.

Sometimes people feel as if it’s a quality of puling away from or indifference to what’s happening.

Of course that’s the near enemy of equanimity.



It looks like equanimity but it’s really a quality of pulling back rather than opening to.

So the phrase that’s used in this meditation — and again we’ll start and go through the whole sequence tonight.


We start with a neutral person.

See if you can conjure up a person whose still neutral.

Find someone for whom you have easily, equanimous feelings.

And the lines that are used, the words that are used.


“You are the heir, or the inheritor, of your own actions.”

“Your happiness, or unhappiness, depends on your actions. Not upon my wishes.”


The tone by which we say this is all important.

Because it’s very easy to use these words in a dismissive way.

In a blaming way.

“You are the heirs of your own actions — regardless of what I wish for you.”

So watch for that tones.


Rather than that, the great power of equanimity and the great power of the practice is it brings right into the moment the widom factor.

It’s really seeing things in a very clear way.

“Yes, all beings are the heirs of their own actions.”


We can have loving wishes and compassionate wishes, and wishes of sympathetic joy..

But ultimately people’s happiness will depend on their actions.


And it’s in fact through the wisdom of this equanimity, of seeing this, that we can then feel compassion for people who are doing things —  creating suffering for themselves.

Or feel joy for the people who are creating the conditions for happiness for themselves.

Equanimity is the mind state that actually contains the seeds of all the others.

When we understand it as being expression of the wisdom mind.


Whereas you do the phrases, really hold that understanding in your mind and in your heart.

That it’s really a statement of how things are.

And the more clearly we and all  others realize this,  the more possibilities for happiness there is.



The more possibilities of happiness there are for us.

All beings, ourselves included, are the heirs of our own actions.

Our happiness or unhappiness depends on our actions.

Not simply upon our wishes.

That’s the phrase that we use.



Again, imbue it with wisdom.

Imbue it with that understanding.

Seeing that out of that wisdom, come all the other brahamvijaras.

It’s the foundation for the others.



Sit and call some neutral person to mind, someone you don’t have strong feelings for one way or another.

It could be someone on the retreat, someone you know from outside.

See if you can hold the image or hold the sense of that person.


Repeating the phrases,

“You are the heir of your actions.

Your happiness and unhappiness depends upon on your actions.

Not upon my wishes.”



Keeping the sense of the image of the person as clearly as possible.

Repeating the phrase.

And watching the nuances in your own mind.

Watch the tone.



“You are the heir of your actions.

Your happiness and unhappiness depends upon on your actions.

Not upon my wishes.”


Be concentrated on the meaning of the words and be with them as a gift of wisdom.



See if you can begin to feel that sense of equanimity, evenness.

You are the heirs of your own actions.

Your happiness or unhappiness depends on your actions. Not upon my wishes.

A mind that is resting in wisdom.



You have that sense of neither attraction nor indifference.

Just the space of openness of how things are as they are.

You might call to a benefactor.

Repeating the same phrase of understanding.



Keeping the benefactor in mind.

Expressing this gift of wisdom.

Resting in equanimity.



“You are the heirs of your actions.

Your happiness and unhappiness depends upon on your actions.

Not upon my wishes.”



Finding that place of balance between attraction and indifference.

A place of simple openness, of evenness.

Of equanimity.


You can either stay with the benefactor or call a good friend to mind.

Seeing if you can remain in this space of equanimity.


Holding a good friend in the light of wisdom

“You are the heirs of your actions.

Your happiness and unhappiness depends upon on your actions.

Not upon my wishes.”


See if you can offer this gift of wisdom to a person who is difficult.

As you repeat the phrases, that are imbued with wisdom rather than judgement or blame.


See if it’s possible to go a deep and abiding equanimity in regards to one’s own life.

“I am the heir of my own  actions.

My happiness and unhappiness depends upon on my actions.

Not simply upon my wishes.”


Now letting the mind expand and open to include large groups of people.

All women.

All men.

The heirs of their own actions.

Their happiness and unhappiness depends upon their actions. Not upon their wishes.


All awakened beings.

All unawakened beings.

Are the heirs of their actions.

Their happiness and unhappiness depends upon on their actions.

Not upon my wishes.



All devas.

All human beings.

Lower beings.

You are the heirs of your own actions.

Your happiness and unhappiness depends upon on your actions.

Not upon my wishes.



Let the mind open to embrace all beings everywhere.

From that place of impartiality.

The place between attraction and indifference.

Place of openness and equanimity.

All beings are the heirs of their own karma.

Their happiness or unhappiness depends on their actions.

Not upon my wishes.


After every phrase is the gift of wisdom.

No place of impartiality.




We are all heirs of our own actions.

Our happiness and unhappiness depends on our actions.

Not simply upon our wishes.

Notice the quality of mind as you repeat the phrase.

Equanimity is a refined and subtle state.


Often we find our minds caught in one extreme or another.

Likes and dislikes.

Attractions or aversions.

Interesting to really pay attention as you do the phrases.



Simply to watch the nuances

When the mind is moving back into that near enemy of indifference.

If it feels cold, it’s not equanimity.

It’s a not caring.

Or if the mind is getting agitated in some way then it’s certainly not equanimity.



And it’s through practice through the act of repetition.

We really touch the quality of

It’s not leaning towards or leaning away from.

It’s just there.


And in that state, it is imbued with wisdom.

From that place of wisdom all the other brahamaviaras come.

When we have this understanding.

So work with it — especially during this week when we pay attention .

to the subtle mind.



When it’s developed, equanimity has a tremendous power.

Embrace suffering, embrace joy.

Keeping that sense of joy.

Be equanimous.

Equanimity by Ram Dass


Sit straight.


And experience right in the middle of your chest:  a tiny being.

Imagine it.

Use your imagination.


Sitting on a lotus flower.

Tiny being the size of your thumb.


And as you look upon this being — light is pouring forth from it.

It’s radiant.


And just from looking upon this being you get a sense of incredible peace.


And you look at it’s face and you feel infinite compassion within this being.


And just being near this entity fills you with a feeling of love.

Perfect equanimity.

Great wisdom.


Now let that being grow in size till it fills your body.

Its head, your head.

Its torso, your torso.

Its legs, your legs.

Its arms, your arms.


Feel its peace.

Feel its equanimity.

Let yourself be filled with its love.


Now with your eyes closed.

You and the being expand in size — until your head reaches the ceiling of this hall.


And your’e sitting down beneath it.

And all of us are within you.

And this voice is within you.

Feel your hugeness.


Still silent.




Now you break out of the building.

Your head goes up into the sky.

Your head is among the planets.


You have grown in size until you are sitting in the middle of this galaxy.

This Universe.

The Earth is within your belly.

Feel your hugeness at this moment.


You are in the heavens.



Expand yet again until all of the planets, all of the galaxies, everything with which you can think is within you.


You are the one.

You are the ancient one.

I am within you.


Everything that ever was is or will ever be is part of the dance of your being.

You are all of the Universe so you have infinite wisdom.

You appreciate all of the feelings of the Universe so you have infinite compassion.

Feel your immensity.

Your aloneness.


Let the boundaries now of your being disintegrate and merge yourself into that which is beyond form.

And sit for a moment in the formless.


Now gently, reestablish the form of your being.

You are still that immense One.

Very slowly reduce in size — back through the Universe.

Smaller, smaller.

Until your head is at the roof of this building.

You are sitting below the Earth and all of the beings are withihn you.


From this vast height — find who it was that walked into this hall.

Find who you thought you were.

Look at that being.

Look at her or his life.

Look at that being as a soul living out another round.

Look upon that being with compassion.

See how it gets lost into its drama.


At this moment, reach down from your vast height and gently touch that being in blessing at the top of its head.

At this moment, you are that which blesses and you are that which is being blessed.

Experience both simultaneously.


Now come down in size until you are back into your body.

Still with this radiant being filling you.

The being of peace, love, compassion, wisdom.

This being who in its huge form fils the universe and who now fills your body.


And as this being — hold up your right hand — palm forward — keep your eyes closed. Just your right hand up — palm forward — and allow yourself to become a vehicle for bringing those qualities out into the physical plane to all beings that suffer in the Universe


Become now a pure vehicle of that huge one, becoming filling that body.

Feel it coming out of the palm of your right hand and send blessings of peace to all beings who suffer.

Whether their suffering is physical, physiological, spiritual.
It makes no difference, they are suffering.

If there are being that you know who are suffering.


Bring them to mind and surround their beings iwth light, with love, and wiht peace at this moment.

If there are beings with whom you feel anger

Bring them into your consciousness.

See the soul that lies in that incarnation and bless that soul with love and peace and light.


For as you go on this spiritual journey you must accept the responsibility to share what you receive.

For that is part fo the harmony of God.

That you become an insturment for th emanifestaiton of the will of God.


Now you can put your hand down and finally let that being become smaller and smaller until it’s the size of a thumb sitting in the middle of your heart.

That is your inner guru.

That is the inner voice that speaks truth because it is truth.

That is the being who will guide you home.

That is the being who is none other than your true self — when you finish being who you think you are.

And at anytime you can go inside and start to talk to and listen to that being.

Whether you call it Christ, or Buddha, or God, or my true self.