Equanimity

It definately is not mile 1 or even mile 5 for that matter. Maybe it is mile 16 or maybe it is mile 23, but what ever mile it is, it is not the first. And my legs hurt, my feet hurt, I haven’t eaten a full meal in 3-4 hours, in fact I can’t eat anything right now because it imediately makes me want to go find a tree. Everything sucks, why the hell did I sign up for this stupid race? It’s hot out here, that Aid Station better have Mountain Dew, that cheesburger and IPA at the end sounds nice.

Stupid traffic, stupid slow drivers, don’t they know I have somewhere to be?

COVID has messed up everything, our life, our mental health, our rituals, our norms.

Breath. I truly believe that the Lord with make it okay, maybe not the okay you are looking for though. By the way, what did Jesus mean by that whole “do not worry” thing?

I want to introduce you into the concept of equanimity. Essentially it is maintaining a sense of being chill when bad stuff was happening.

I have been thinking a lot about the concept of equanimity the last few months as our world has continued to devolve into chaos.

What is equanimity? Equanimity is a manifestation of resting in God’s grace and trusting in His plan. Humbled is another word that could be used to describe the state of equanimity. Christian equanimity is a matter of recognizing that our thoughts and ideas can only go so far compared to God’s. Additionally, when we truly accept that we “can do all things through God who strengthens” us, we cannot feel weakened by anything. Writing on Christian equanimity, Frederic and Maryann Brussat reference the teachings of Paul in the fourth chapter of Philippians. Another thought on this is accepting the things that we cannot change – more on this later.

I want to delve more into equanimity from a more philosphical sense, borrowing from Buddhism. In Buddhism, equanimity is only one of the four sublime attitudes: quanimity(upeksa/upekkha; lovingkindness(maitri/metta); compassion(karuna) and empathetic joy(mudita). It has been my study of world religions that sometimes Christian language does not capture adequately the right words. Jesus’s notion of not worrying does not have the same weight if you only think of equanimity and not consider the other three Buddhist attitudes that go with it.

Equanimity then from a Buddhist perspective is a bit more deeper, focusing more on a state of consciousness and a way of being where in Christianty there is a sense of doing(accepting).

My final point then has to do with creating a sense of being and culitvating a sense of equanimity through an attitude of acceptance. The whole of 2020 has been a disaster for all of human kind. I ask you to consider accepting what is and detatching for a moment. This does not mean not feeling emotional.

From another philosophy, I borrow from Stoicism and along with acceptance, I peak at the notion of detatchment. Apatheia refers to a state of mind where one is not disturbed by the passions.

So then, as you plan the closing of your year, as you plan your final sermons, your final goodbyes to 2020. Grieve the loss of opportunities, even be mad about the missed opportunities, but in humilty and compassion, bow to them, greet them at your door, welcome them to your home and like that annoying or even toxic family member you can’t stand, don’t talk to them. We are all in this for the long haul. Cultivate a sense of acceptance and turn instead to cultivating of love and peace for that which we can control.

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