Equality is to be in an equanimous state. It includes the mental or emotional stability or composure, calmness, equilibrium and balance, especially under tension or strain.
It means to have an equal response to praise or blame, pleasure or pain, good times or bad times, by being able to remain composed, detached and simply present to these dual experiences as simply experiences, with no preference for one or rejection of the other. It is the ability to ‘hold the whole’ experience of Life.
The Taoists who understand this so well, have a perfect parable of the Chinese farmer to understand this challenge for today. We found it beautifully blogged on Surfing the Sea of Life. It is called “Good news, bad news – who knows?”
– Where in the story do you find the quality of Equality?
– How is the main character in the story relevant in today’s day and age?
– Do I consider Equality as my strength?- In what situation do I find myself being equanimous? In what relationship do I find myself being equanimous?
– On a scale of 1-10 how do I rate myself as equanimous and why?
– If I were to relax something that blocks me from being equanimous, what is it? And what can I relax and let go, offer up to my higher-self for release, now?
Invitation to Commitment
– What specific behavior will I adopt, that demonstrates Equality to me and others?
Practice for Equality
Just staying “present” in and to each moment, builds a healthy state of equality or equal vision. In our competitive culture, we often lose a sense of Equality when we see someone doing better than us; or having something we don’t (yet) have. The bitter taste of Jealousy can arise. Mudita, or joyful empathy, is one of the four higher emotions that Buddhists practice.
Simply put, it means ‘Your joy warms my heart.”
It contains the powerful realization that Joy is a universal energy, and we can partake of it freely. It does not have to be confined to one person. Feeling happiness with someone savoring success, expands your heart to dissolve the sense of being separate from them, or being less than them.
Mudita enables Equality.
Try it today! And share.
Optional Practice – Reflective Exercise on Equality
Take about 15-20 minutes off and find a quiet place. Sit in a comfortable meditation posture. Follow your breath until you feel centered and grounded. Bring to mind the images of three people: someone you like, someone you dislike, and someone towards whom you feel indifferent. Keep these three people in mind throughout the meditation.
Focus on the loved one and look into all the reasons you like this person. Try to see if any of the reasons are about things this person does for you, or ways they uplift your ego. Ask yourself if these are really the genuine reasons to like someone. Then do the same thing with the person you dislike, instead asking about the reasons you dislike them. Finally, do this for the person you are indifferent towards, asking about the reasons for your indifference.
In all cases, notice where your ego is involved in the judgement of the other person’s worth. Next, ask yourself whether you consider each of these relationships as permanent. Would you still like your loved one if they did something terrible to you? What if the person you dislike really did something nice for you? What if the stranger became close to you? Think about all the relationships in the past in which your feelings about the person have dramatically changed.
Now, visualize the person you like doing something you dislike or that is unacceptable to you. Would you still be their friend? Remember that many people have changed from friends to enemies in the past. There are people who you used to like, toward whom you now feel dislike. Think about how there is no external reason to feel good about a person who may only temporarily be your friend.
Next, visualize your enemy doing something very kind for you. They might visit you in the hospital, or help you to fix your home. When you imagine this, can you feel positive emotions toward this person? Can you remember times in the past when an enemy became a friend? Is it necessary to feel that your strong dislike for this person will last forever? Is it possible that they could someday become your friend?
Finally, visualize the stranger. How would you feel about them if they did something very kind for you? Isn’t it the case that all your current friends were at one point total strangers? Is it possible that a stranger could become your best friend?
Think carefully about how everyone deserves equal regard as human beings. You may discern and make decisions based on your knowledge of a person’s character, but you do not have to hold strong feelings or judgments towards them. It is very likely that your emotions around a person will change many times, so why hold onto these emotions so rigidly? Do tell us how your experience with this exercise is, by posting on our private feed.