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Ugrok
04-29-2021, 07:49 AM
Hello !

I just would like to know a bit more about how to develop equanimity during practice. When you encounter something (a thought, a sensation, a feeling) you don't like, it seems to me that you can't "force" equanimity (meaning you can't tell yourself "okay, so now i don't care about this") ; so how do you deal with it in order to develop equanimity ? You just come back to the breath / posture ?

Gassho,

Uggy,
Sat today
LAH

Kokuu
04-29-2021, 08:28 AM
Hi Uggy

I would not worry about developing equanimity. That is just one more goal to compare ourselves to.

My advice is just to observe. Observe that things arise and we react to them. Just watch it happen.

Everything is just part of what Jundo calls 'the whole enchilada' and we don't need to alter it in any way.

Off the cushion, we may need to make decisions based on what is best for our life but when sitting we can just receive.

Gassho
Kokuu
-sattoday/lah-

Horin
04-29-2021, 08:29 AM
For me it's just a recognition of the arising phenomenon. A neutral look at it, without giving meaning. Hard to explain. If I catch myself in being Involved I come back to the act of sitting again.

Gassho

Horin

Stlah

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Bion
04-29-2021, 08:50 AM
Hello !

I just would like to know a bit more about how to develop equanimity during practice. When you encounter something (a thought, a sensation, a feeling) you don't like, it seems to me that you can't "force" equanimity (meaning you can't tell yourself "okay, so now i don't care about this") ; so how do you deal with it in order to develop equanimity ? You just come back to the breath / posture ?

Gassho,

Uggy,
Sat today
LAH

Well, what is “practice” to you? Are you talking just about sitting? In that case, simply don’t get into a whole internal monologue when a thought or sensation arises. It is not necessary for you to decide whether you like that thought or not. Move away from it and go back to focusing on being focused and do a quick scan of your posture, go back to the breath for a second, check for tenseness in the body, focus on the mudra, snap yourself back into thinking the thought of zazen. Equanimity is an active thing, and involves a certain judging of the experience or moment. That can only happen when one stops to analyze and interpret the events, sensations, etc.. Equanimity happens after one has a good realization of the nature of things and especially that of emotions.

Sorry for the length

[emoji1374] SatToday

Doshin
04-29-2021, 12:14 PM
[QUOTE=Ugrok;284719]Hello !

You just come back to the breath / posture


That is what I do Uggy.

Doshin
St

Guish
04-29-2021, 04:04 PM
Indeed we just sit in the present moment and the only effort is the effort to sit. Anything else drives us away from the present moment.

Gassho,
Sat today,
Guish.

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StoBird
05-12-2021, 08:43 AM
Sometimes life is so rough that equanimity or sitting just isn't possible. For the other days equanimity is a non-issue issue if I tell myself from the moment I sit down that sitting itself is a goalless goal already achieved, its what it is like to have no problems, or at the very least my problems are non-problem problems, a radical and perfect equanimity and peace even bad days are good days, any kind of sitting is good in the beginning, middle, and end weather or not I feel equanimous and at peace, etc... etc... My mind likes to set up imaginary problems up against opposing imaginary problems. Those mantras or attitudes are what I use see past all opposing problems between my ears until I can drop them, fake it till I make it is my motto. I don't know if that's the right way to do it, all I know is that it works for me and helps me see past my personal baggage so I can be more gentle and lend a hand in daily life. Please let me know if I am doing it wrong gassho1

Gassho,
Tom

SatLah

Jinyo
05-13-2021, 09:45 AM
Hello !

I just would like to know a bit more about how to develop equanimity during practice. When you encounter something (a thought, a sensation, a feeling) you don't like, it seems to me that you can't "force" equanimity (meaning you can't tell yourself "okay, so now i don't care about this") ; so how do you deal with it in order to develop equanimity ? You just come back to the breath / posture ?

Gassho,

Uggy,
Sat today
LAH

Hello Uggy,
I don't think equanimity is an attitude of 'I don't care about this' when it comes to difficult thoughts/problems. I don't feel its in the realm of whether we care or not. We can have a sense of equanimity and still care about things passionately - but lets just focus on sitting here. Do we stop caring about things to the point of not feeling anything unpleasant or troubling when we sit ? I don't think so and I doubt that's what's recommended. Sitting isn't about anaesthetising our emotions.

I'm not even sure its about observing reactions, letting them pass and returning to the breath because that in itself can become goal orientated. I'm not really sure anymore that I'm actually practicing shikantaza so I'm not giving advice here -I'm not a teacher and have no answers/certainty. I'm just sharing.

My mind is a total chaotic storm of emotions since my husband died - I've given up on 'sitting' because I've observed there is little difference between sitting and ordinary day to day living in terms of equanimity. I haven't worked out the implications of this - whether I sit or just live its all the same - I'm not pushing anything away and am mostly accepting of what I feel. Is that because ten years of
practice has had a subtle effect on my mind/ on the way in which I place my attention? I can't claim neutrality - I absolutely prefer the better days when I feel more productive and in control of my life - but I also accept the bad days because it would be very weird not to be grieving for my husband.

I honestly don't think its any different on the cushion - just accepting 'what is' without any striving for omnipotence or control because once there's acceptance the need to be in control evaporates.

That doesn't mean we don't strive to make decisions in our every day lives but the only way I can express this is that the grounding/the basis of action becomes changed at a subtle level. Is that change to live in a state of equanimity - I don't know? Its hard to express which is why some of the literature comes across as spiritual bypassing.

Anyway - sorry for going over and rambling somewhat,

Gassho

Jinyo

(I'm sure I'll get back to 'sitting' soon - life feels like sitting anyway just now)

StoBird
05-13-2021, 01:36 PM
Spiritual bypassing is something I may be caught up in myself. I fear the danger is becoming a victim of the dharma by using it as an excuse not to try in life.

As for not caring and equanimity, the way I see it is that the "Serenity Prayer" is a good rule of thumb in life: "grant me the serenity to accept what I cannot change, courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference."

I feel the ancient Stoics best clarified the serenity prayer. They clarified what to value most and what things are to be "indifferent" (I use scare quotes because "indifferent" does not mean not caring in this case). They qualify "indifferent" with "preferred" as in "preferred indifferent" and "dis-preferred" as in "dis-preferred indifferent ." Their logic goes something like this: we have control over some things and not others. The things we don't have full control over are "fate permitting" and thus indifferent in the sense that an archer aims for her target but it is left to "fate permitting" if she hits the target when she releases the arrow. She cares deeply about hitting the target and trains hard to be a good archer but knows it is ultimately up to fate and is ultimately indifferent because she does not have complete control over it. Hitting the target is a "preferred indifferent" and missing is a "dis-preferred indifferent." The only thing that she has complete control over and is not ultimately indifferent is her "internals" or specifically, her virtue: to not give up and to not give into vice when things get tough, to be just and kind, to act wisely, and to not over indulge or get angry even when she misses the target. That is what matters and is the measure of her character, not the "externals' of if she hits the target or not. She is equanimous either way because she has her virtue. Life is still hard and she grieves, feels pain and sadness as Dogen says "Flowers fall even though we like them and weeds grow even though we dislike them" but what makes her equanimity is being a good person even in the worst of fates. It is a high bar and she fails over and over but gets up every time and does not give up.

Gassho,
Tom

SatLah

Guish
05-28-2021, 03:51 PM
Spiritual bypassing is something I may be caught up in myself. I fear the danger is becoming a victim of the dharma by using it as an excuse not to try in life.

As for not caring and equanimity, the way I see it is that the "Serenity Prayer" is a good rule of thumb in life: "grant me the serenity to accept what I cannot change, courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference."

I feel the ancient Stoics best clarified the serenity prayer. They clarified what to value most and what things are to be "indifferent" (I use scare quotes because "indifferent" does not mean not caring in this case). They qualify "indifferent" with "preferred" as in "preferred indifferent" and "dis-preferred" as in "dis-preferred indifferent ." Their logic goes something like this: we have control over some things and not others. The things we don't have full control over are "fate permitting" and thus indifferent in the sense that an archer aims for her target but it is left to "fate permitting" if she hits the target when she releases the arrow. She cares deeply about hitting the target and trains hard to be a good archer but knows it is ultimately up to fate and is ultimately indifferent because she does not have complete control over it. Hitting the target is a "preferred indifferent" and missing is a "dis-preferred indifferent." The only thing that she has complete control over and is not ultimately indifferent is her "internals" or specifically, her virtue: to not give up and to not give into vice when things get tough, to be just and kind, to act wisely, and to not over indulge or get angry even when she misses the target. That is what matters and is the measure of her character, not the "externals' of if she hits the target or not. She is equanimous either way because she has her virtue. Life is still hard and she grieves, feels pain and sadness as Dogen says "Flowers fall even though we like them and weeds grow even though we dislike them" but what makes her equanimity is being a good person even in the worst of fates. It is a high bar and she fails over and over but gets up every time and does not give up.

Gassho,
Tom

SatLahThat's beautifully written, Tom. I believe the same thing. In my mind, I always objectively look at the situation and ask myself. Was my intent pure or not? If it was, then I am fine even if it doesn't work out and I try to learn from what happened.

Gassho,
Sat today,
Guish.

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