Improving your day – building equanimity

I learnt this practice a while back and have found it to be a very effective way of taking the day’s challenges as they come.  The practice will assist you become more resilient and to remember that “this too will change” 🙂

Before you watch the video below, let me give you a little background.   You have probably heard the words “Neurons that fire together wire together”.   If you haven’t and want to know more about the science behind the practice this site (click here) gives a quick intro.

Since the invention of the MRI, neuroscience has been making leaps and bounds in understanding how our brain works.  One of the findings is that of neuroplasticity; we can actually teach ourselves new ways of thinking.   Doctors are using the finding to help brain damaged patients use parts of their bodies unused for years, as well as numerous other brain related illnesses.

However, far easier than that, we can teach our brains to think more positively and compassionately for example.  All it takes is some dedicated time and focused attention.

The purpose of this practice is to assist you meet everything that comes your way without letting it effect you (equanimity).  The video I have selected below is one of hundreds on the internet you could use so feel free to substitute it.  I found it hard to find one that matched what I imagine, so even going with your own mental version may work best.  The more important aspect is that it provides a positive and meaningful image to go along with the thoughts.  It’s an analogy.

If you can find just five minutes each morning to close your eyes and complete the following then you will start to find your days becoming easier.   Even using this technique during challenging moments should help you find perspective again.

This Practice:

Imagine yourself as a mountain.  You are high, wide, established and magnificent to see.  Spend some picturing this mountain and its details.   You have been shaped slowly over time by both the earth’s moving plates and weather.  On your slopes and cliffs live many plants and animals.  The seasons that come and go each year can be calm and warm but also bitterly cold and vicious.  Through each season you remain mostly unchanged and solid in your place.  And even over the years you stay generally unchanged by what goes on around you.

Now notice the clouds as they move by.  Small clusters which barely cast a shadow on you come and then go.  Then there are others which form and grow, becoming dark with wind, rain and perhaps a storm.  Then it passes.   More clouds come and go, swirling past.  You remain unmoved and undisturbed.  The sun shines through for some hours until again more clouds come and go by.

Now imagine the clouds are the challenges of the day.  Coming and then finally going.  Some larger than others and some with more intensity but eventually they all pass.   It may be a remark someone made that you take offense to, but eventually forget about.   Or a hurtful argument that lasts for hours.  Eventually it passes too just like a storm.

Concentrate on the coming and going.  It is a cycle which can’t be avoided but one that does have both a start and an end.  The duration might be short or long.  It may last minutes, hours or perhaps much longer.  Eventually it does fade away like a cloud.  You can be left with a trace but unchanged like the mountain.

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