“To cultivate equanimity we practice catching ourselves when we feel attraction or aversion, before it hardens into grasping or negativity.”
~ Pema Chödrön
When we practice the first three of the brahma-vihara, we develop the ability to love all beings, to feel compassion for others, to feel joy in other’s joy. This leads to the final of the four immeasurable, uppekkha or equanimity. Equanimity is the ability to be non-reactive, while maintaining metta, karuna and mudita. It is to feel loving kindness without becoming attached to the object of your metta practice; to feel compassion without feeling aversion to the pain associated with the object of your karuna practice; to feel joy in another’s joy with positive detachment. Through our brahma-vihara practice we develop the ability to see the bigger picture and not get lost in the details. We know that everything changes and that whatever we feel is only a temporary state so we do not get caught up in it. We develop an underlying bliss that cannot be shaken by the circumstances in which we find ourselves. As Chödrön says, “we practice catching our mind hardening into fixed views and do our best to soften. Through softening, the barriers come down”.
Following is a traditional Buddhist meditation to continue to cultivate brahma-vihara:
May all beings enjoy happiness and the root of happiness.
May we be free from suffering and the root of suffering.
May we never be separated from the great happiness devoid of suffering.
May we dwell in the great equanimity, free from passion, aggression and prejudice.