Speaker: Stephen Fulder on Equanimity

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Equanimity: Dancing with the Unexpected

A special event with Stephen Fulder

Equanimity is a  key spiritual faculty which allows us to face the known and the unknown, the ecstasies and the despairs, with steadiness and lightness. Equanimity helps us engage with life from an unlimited and interconnected perspective. The Buddhist image is of an island in the stormy seas – remembering that all islands are connected under the ocean.

Equanimity, is a sublime yet powerful fruit of our practice. It is our capacity to be vulnerable and sensitive, yet never knocked down; dancing with the changing and unexpected circumstances of life  rather than running away from them to some apparently safe haven. It is a refined quality – the fourth of the Brahma Viharas and the last of the Factors of Awakening and the Perfections (Paramis). Equanimity is not indifference, although sometimes the two are confused. While equanimity is getting wet and riding the waves, indifference is shutting ourselves in the air-conditioned hotel room nearby. Equanimity is letting the world right in. Indifference is keeping it right out.

How can equanimity be practiced? Sitting in meditation for extended periods automatically leads to equanimity as we learn to stay steady and receive whatever comes. ‘Let our meditation be like the earth’ said the Buddha, ‘for then satisfying and unsatisfying contacts with the world through the senses will not invade the mind.’ We may be in the most problematic situation, such as a family crisis, but can see it all from a bigger, more universal, and less personal perspective.

The primary practice is the gradual deconstruction of the belief in me and mine. We cannot be hurt if we are light and free. The doors are open, the windows are open, cold winds do blow in, but they just blow through us.

Insight Meditation South Bay offers two weekly meditation groups—Tuesdays evenings we offer an open drop-in sitting group in Mountain View, and Thursdays we offer structured courses in Saratoga.

The Tuesday sitting group meets every Tuesday evening for a meditation and Dhamma talk in Mountain View. The principal teacher is Shaila Catherine and guest speakers are featured regularly. Thematic series are periodically presented, but whether or not a topic has been advertised in advance, Shaila or a guest teacher will lead the sitting and offer teachings. See also weekly sitting.

Newcomers are always welcome. To help newcomers get acquainted with mindfulness meditation and IMSB, a senior member or teacher offers a beginner’s orientation beginning at 6:30 on the first Tuesday of each month.

IMSB relies upon the generosity of participants to support our teachers and cover organizational expenses. Dana is a word in the ancient Pali language that describes donations, offerings and generosity. Two bowls will be available at an event to practice dana for the teacher and IMSB; we encourage you to give joyfully and generously, according to your resources and means. IMSB is a 501(c) (3) organization. All donations are tax deductible as permitted by law.

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