I think this is the hardest one of all, trying to develop a neutral or even positive attitude toward everything from the annoying kid who kicks the back of your seat all the way from Fiji to Sydney to criminal predators. Boy, that’s tough (and a rough comparison!).
Understanding the concept of dependent origination helps a little bit. Knowing why someone is acting the way they do seems to help us develop compassion toward them. If you think of someone you love and know very well, and you know they’re going through a really tough time with an illness or injury, you might forgive them for being a little irritable or snappy towards you or understand if they make a bad decision like taking drugs. You look at their behavior in context of their injury or illness and develop an understanding or acceptance of their behavior. It doesn’t mean you approve of the behavior, just that you are able to feel ok about it because of what they are going through.
Having Equanimity is the ability to apply this acceptance and understanding to everyone. Even if you don’t know someone’s circumstances you can probably accept the idea that they’ve had bad days, possibly a rough childhood, maybe a parent recently died or perhaps they are even living with a terminal illness that you don’t know about and these things, even though you didn’t know about them, are affecting their behavior and choices.
I really struggle with this one, especially when it comes to someone who is threatening my children in some way. My inner lioness wakes up very quickly when the person in the seat in front starts growling at my daughter on the plane. Suddenly I don’t care how tired you are or how sick you feel, if you put your seat all the way back (particularly at the same moment that you can hear my child vomiting behind you) you are just going to have to live with a few bumps and kicks in the back from a three year old…gee four hours can seem like a long time.
So how do I develop equanimity toward this grouchy, tantrum throwing honeymooner? I accept that she is suffering, and that I can be kind, both in my behavior toward her and in my mind. This is not at the expense of my compassion and kindness toward my daughter of course, or even for myself, but taking my daughter’s and my own needs into account I can still manage kindness, and perhaps that is all I manage today, but with time I hope that equanimity develops and at I do less harm to others in the meantime.
– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad
Location:11000m in the air