For the past few weeks this blog has been focused on teachings about the four immeasurables. You can catch up on other teachings on lovingkindness, compassion, sympathetic joy, and equanimity from previous weeks here. We invite you to join us in this exploration and please comment below and let us know how these practices resonate with you.
“Equanimity is a wonderful quality, a spaciousness and balance of heart. Although it grows naturally with our meditation practice, equanimity can also be cultivated in the same systematic way that we have used for loving-kindness and compassion. We can feel this possibility of balance in our hearts in the midst of life when we recognize that life is not in our control. We are a small part of a great dance.” from Meditation on Equanimity by Jack Kornfield
In an article on lionsroar.com, one of our favorite teachers, Sharon Salzberg explains how we can build our capacity for equanimity through a mountain meditation practice. She says, “Practice sitting like a mountain sometime, allowing all images and feelings and sensations to come and go, as you reside in steadfastness, watching it all arise and pass away.”
Excerpt from Jon Kabat-Zinn’s Mountain Meditation
Through it all, the mountain just sits, experiencing change in each moment, constantly changing, yet always just being itself. It remains still as the seasons flow into one another and as the weather changes moment by moment and day by day, calmness abiding all change…
In summer, there is no snow on the mountain except perhaps for the very peaks or in crags shielded from direct sunlight In the fall, the mountain may wear a coat of brilliant fire colors.
In winter, a blanket of snow and ice. In any season, it may find itself at times enshrouded in clouds or fog or pelted by freezing rain. People may come to see the mountain and comment on how beautiful it is or how it’s not a good day to see the mountain, that it’s too cloudy or rainy or foggy or dark.
None of this matters to the mountain, which remains at all times its essential self. Clouds may come and clouds may go, tourists may like it or not. The mountain’s magnificence and beauty are not changed one bit by whether people see it or not, seen or unseen, in sun or clouds, broiling or frigid, day or night.
It just sits, being itself.
Sharon Salzberg and Jack Kornfield are co-founders of the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, MA along with Joseph Goldstein.
Jon Kabat-Zinn studied Zen Buddhism and went on to create a stress reduction program called mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR).