Parami – Equanimity

What’s in a word? More specifically, what’s in this word?

From Webster’s Seventh New Collegiate Dictionary:

Equanimity n. [aequo animo with equal mind]  1. evenness of mind esp. under stress: composure  2. right disposition: balance.

Equilibrium n. [aequi + libra weight, balance]  1. a static or dynamic state of balance between opposing forces or actions  2. a state of adjustment between opposing or divergent influences or elements  3. the normal oriented state of the animal body in respect to its environment.

Equilibrist  n. one who balances himself in unnatural positions and hazardous movements.

Equilateral  adj. having all sides equal.

From a talk by Gil Fronsdal in 2004:

The English word ‘equanimity’ translates into two separate Pali words used by the Buddha. The most common is upekkha, meaning ‘to look over.’ It refers to the equanimity that arises from the power of observation, the ability to see without being caught by what we see. The second word is tatramajjhattata, translated as ‘standing in the middle of all this.’

I am using Sylvia Boorstein’s book Pay Attention for Goodness’ Sake (2002) as my main reference. In it,  she says this:

“To perfect my Equanimity, I need to accept every experience into my awareness. I cannot refuse to pay attention. Refusing itself, the mind tensing in withdrawal, is suffering. And turning the mind away, refusing to look, would preclude complete and clear seeing. When my mind greets all moments with equal respect, it maintains stature enough to see that causal connections set every experience into its lawful time and place, that everything is always — breathtakingly — the only way that it can be. My heart, resting in Equanimity, can respond with compassion.”

See you Thursday!

Deb Slivinsky

p.s. I was so tempted to include the definition for Equestrian… those of you who’ve ever tried to ride a horse will know what that has to do with Equilibrium and Equilibrist. More later…

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