The opposite of equanimity

The thing is…I know I make it worse by telling myself, “I want this to change,” “I want this to happen,” “I don’t want this to happen,” “I don’t want to deal with this situation,” “I’ll be happy when this happens.”

I’m perfectly and completely aware that we think ourselves into feeling agitated or dissatisfied. I know that’s what I’m doing these days. I have a certain vision in my mind of what I want life to be like right now, and since that vision is fading, I’m stomping my feet like a child, and wishing it were otherwise. This is the very opposite of how Buddhism teaches me to handle such situations.  There is a great quote by Joko Beck that I snagged from another blog:

Life always gives us exactly the teacher we need at every moment. This includes every mosquito, every misfortune, every red light, every traffic jam, every obnoxious supervisor (or employee), every illness, every loss, every moment of joy or depression, every addiction, every piece of garbage, every breath. Every moment is the Guru.

I love this quote. It brings my thinking back to the present, and knowing that while I don’t have control over the situation, I do have control over how I respond to the situation. Intellectually, I know this, and often I’m able to apply it, but lately, I’ve fallen into old habits, and find myself pouting and stomping my feet more than I ‘d like to admit. And, of course, the pouting and stomping takes time away from actual action that could help me achieve my vision (but sometimes I don’t even know what action to take, which leads to further pouting on my part. You see where this is going.  (Nowhere)).


8 thoughts on “The opposite of equanimity

  1. A thing that has confused me: if you’re to accept things as they are but that is not your “natural” state (evidenced by pouting, foot stomping, etc.)—doesn’t that mean you *must* change yourself? Does it mean that you should accept all your own stomping around and reconcile it (and all it’s causes are just beyond your control?

  2. Alas, I was adding to and editing my last sentence in the previous comment and somehow hovered over the submit comment button and then did. Hence, errors—but the basic sentiment I was going for is still present.

  3. You are restless these days, no? I agree with JG about the reconciliation, the acceptance that we are what we are. You: beautiful, talented, smart, and very considerate for a self-described ‘selfish’ person. Maybe ‘you’ includes other things, too, that make you no less everything else: moody, brooding, frustrated, restless (oh, these might be me, so find your own).

    I actually enjoy accepting what others may perceive as ‘imperfect’ things about myself. To some degree, it’s not my ‘excuse’ but my (as JG mentioned) reconciliation between being me and not being anyone else; frankly, I can live with that. It helps you accept others as they are, too.

  4. Hi, friends!
    Well, I don’t think it’s about changing my natural state so much as knowing I have control over my conscious state, if that makes any sense. So, generally I feel pretty mellow, until I start dwelling on this or that, and then I start feeling agitated, or depressed, or whatever…but it’s my own thought process that creates the unrest. I do accept that this is what I do sometimes–I am who I am–but I also acknowledge that it isn’t a very productive way to spend a lot of time. Of course, all this heartbreak and teeth gnashing has been caused by learning that I was not invited to interview for a communications position at the local university (I made it as far as being a finalist). I’m depressed beyond measure for 2 reasons: 1. I have to start my search again, which makes me want to bang my head against the wall. 2. This position would have utilized every skill I have–photography, writing, editing, designing, etc. I know positions like that don’t come around very often…particularly at universities. And I was so close to getting my foot in the door!

    I coulda been a contender.

  5. Do we control our conscious state? I think we don’t. Consciousness doesn’t require control, only awareness. I don’t believe I think myself into dissatisfaction or agitation. I can decide to do something but that doesn’t mean I can (or even always want to) control my feelings about that action or what has prompted it.

    I guess I’m asking, how can you accept what is beyond control and actively attempt to control your out-of-control(ness) at the same time?

    Not getting the job—beyond your control. Foot stomping—I think beyond your control as an honest reaction. Doing something else despite the foot stomping—within your control. And, despite doing more of it than you’d like, ultimately what you’ll do. I think that is what matters. There are those who do nothing but stomp and those that don’t even do that—if you faced every disappointment with a smile and an immediate call to new action, that would be disturbing. And often counterproductive: foot stomping can be a catalyst.

    My sympathies about not making the interview round. You’d have been great.

  6. I totally get where you are coming from: you find that position that you are sure would be a perfect fit for all you have to offer and it’s a bummer when others didn’t envision you in the position. I actually applied for the same position twice: interviewed once & didn’t get it; then the same position opened a year later, and I applied again hoping I would be reconsidered (with, of course, the thought in my head, “See, you should’ve picked me in the first place, and you wouldn’t have lost your first choice.”). Alas, heartbreak is not a very good teacher.

    You are such a positive person that I hate to hear of sorrow or disappointment in your life.

    Girl, margaritas were invented just for times like these. *Cheers*

  7. Mmmm. What a beautiful quote you borrowed for the blog post.

    I tend to agree with JG on this one. Being picked for a job is mostly beyond our control, so it’s up to you where you move from here.

    Personally, I think you’re lucky not to have to put up with all the ridiculousness that comes as a gigantic fucking tag-along to teaching at a university. I don’t see that higher education sees much of the Guru in a moment. So if you do get that university spot you want someday, then it’ll probably be in the environment that’s right for you, where your moments can be yours.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s