Accepting Change…

I have found that equanimity is nowhere better forged than within the crucible of change. I have prayed about equanimity; meditated on it; and chanted for it; yet, every time I’d finally thought I’d acquired it, something changed. It took me awhile to learn to differentiate between ‘things’ remaining the same and my remaining the same, despite those things changing. It is only through the testing of the equanimity we believe we possess that we can truly come to own it. The smooth sailing of a sedentary existence can set us up for failure as quickly as a chaotic one. Ironically, it is only through sustaining change that we can measure ‘same-ness,’ or equanimity…

With everything and everyone constantly, and necessarily, in flux, there is no use or sense in my hanging my hat on some external ‘sameness.’ It is, instead, I who must learn to remain the same, in the sense of always being capable of sustaining the hits of a fluctuating existence. Unfortunately, it becomes that much harder when this view is not commonly shared. In situations where everyone is freaking out but we are not, though some might admire us, others resent our serenity and seek every opportunity to disrupt it. Many people simply assume that others must necessarily be repelled or attracted by certain occurrences in manners similar to their own. So, when our insecurities don’t match theirs, they interpret it to mean that there is something wrong or disingenuous about us…

In Rudyard Kipling’s famous poem, “If,” he wrote:

“If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you…

Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise…”

Not only did he hit the nail on the head, he drove it straight and completely into the board; because you see, to conduct oneself with any type of equanimity in a freaked out world is, more often than not, to be taken for a fatalist, a pessimist, or a psychopath.

To neither “rage, rage against the dying of the light,” nor put all one’s eggs in one basket strikes me as the poetic GPS that helps guide us to that Middle Way. Nonetheless, since the day I emerged, stunned and screaming, from my mother’s womb, I’ve struggled with the dualistic, delusional dilemma of ‘how things are’ as opposed to ‘how things should be,’ instead of just accepting that in this conditioned existence, it is what it is because of what it was…

Some might call this a defeatist mode of thought, but in reality it is, ultimately, quite liberating because if we live as the Buddha prescribed, i.e., mindfully (in the moment), then with the past being ‘over’ and the future not yet a factor (much less a reality), from this moment forth, we truly are the “masters of our fates” and “captains of our souls”…



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