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“The near enemy of equanimity is indifference or callousness. We
may appear serene if we say, “I’m not attached. It doesn’t matter what happens
anyway, because it’s all transitory.” We feel a certain peaceful relief because
we withdraw from experience and from the energies of life. But indifference is
based on fear. True equanimity is not a withdrawal; it is a balanced engagement
with all aspects of life. It is opening to the whole of life with composure and
ease of mind, accepting the beautiful and terrifying nature of all things.
Equanimity embraces the loved and the unloved, the agreeable and the
disagreeable, the pleasure and pain. It eliminates clinging and aversion.
– Jack Kornfield, Equanimity vs Indifference
"Give me the serenity to accept
the things that cannot be changed,
the courage to change the things
which can be changed,
and the wisdom to distinguish
one from the other.
Living one day at a time,
Enjoying one moment at a time,
accepting hardship as a pathway to peace."
- Reinhold Niebuhr, Serenity Prayer Version, 1937
"For every ailment under the sun
There is a remedy, or there is none;
If there be one, try to find it;
If there be none, never mind it."
- Mother Goose Rhyme, 1695
Equanimity, an English noun. Meaning,
synonyms, related words, and possible uses: mental calmness, composure, an
evenness of temper especially in a difficult situation, level-headedness,
self-possession, cool headedness, presence of mind, serenity, tranquility,
phlegm, intrepid coolness, calm fortitude, imperturbability, equilibrium, poise,
assurance, self-confidence, aplomb, sangfroid, nerve, cool, indifferent,
From Fr. équanimité, from L. aequanimitatem (nom. aequanimitas) "evenness of mind, calmness," from aequus "even, level" (see equal) + animus "mind, spirit" (see animus). Meaning "evenness of temper" in English is from 1610s.
"A key concept for the sceptics was ataraxia ("tranquility"), a Greek
term used by Pyrrho to describe a lucid state of robust tranquility,
characterized by ongoing freedom from distress and worry. By applying
ideas of what he called "practical skepticism" to Ethics and to life in general,
Pyrrho concluded that ataraxia could be achieved. Arriving at a state of
ataraxia became the ultimate goal of the early Skeptikoi."
- Skeptic Six Pack
"Even a happy life cannot be without a measure of darkness,
and the word 'happy' would loose its meaning if it were not balanced by sadness.
It is far better to take things as they come along with patience and
- Karl Gustav Jung
"Anything that helps you maintain unruffled equanimity is
- Sri Sathya Sai Baba
“Few people are capable of expressing with equanimity opinions which differ from
the prejudices of their social environment. Most people are incapable of
forming such opinions."
- Albert Einstein
"There often seems to be a playfulness to wise people, as
if either their equanimity has as its source this playfulness or the playfulness
flows from the equanimity; and they can persuade other people who are in a state
of agitation to calm down and manage a smile."
- Edward Hoagland
"What a man needs is not courage but nerve control, cool
headedness. This he can get only by practice”.
- Theodore Roosevelt
(upekhā) is also mentioned in
Yoga Sutras (1.33), as one of the
sublime attitudes, along with
compassion (karuā), and
It is related to the idea of
or "dispassion". The Upeksha Yoga school foregrounds equanimity as the most
important tenet of a
yoga practice." In many
the virtue of equanimity can be one of the results attained through regular
combined with regular practice of
asanas and mental disciplines, which clear the mind and bring one inexorably
toward a state of health and balance."
Equanimity - Wikipedia
"I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the
little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit
it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the
inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I
- Frank Herbert, Dune
“There is a huge amount of freedom that comes to you when you take nothing
- Miguel Ruiz
"Life, death, preservation, loss, failure, success,
poverty, riches, worthiness, unworthiness, slander, fame, hunger, thirst, cold,
heat─ these are the alterations of the world, the workings of fate. Day
and night they change place before us and wisdom cannot spy out their source.
Therefore, they should not be enough to destroy your harmony; they should not be
allowed to enter the storehouse of the spirit. If you can harmonize and
delight in them, master them and never be a a loss for joy, if you can do this
day and night without break and make it be spring with everything, mingling with
all and creating the moment within your own mind─ this is what I call being
whole in power."
Zhuangzi, Burton Watson translation, p. 69.; Zhuangzi Section 5, circa 300 BCE.
“Never let the future disturb you. You will meet it, if you have to, with the
same weapons of reason which today arm you against the present.”
- Marcus Aurelius
"Philosophy teaches us to bear with equanimity the
misfortunes of others."
- Oscar Wilde
“The meditative mind sees disagreeable or agreeable things with equanimity,
patience, and good-will. Transcendent knowledge is seeing reality in utter
- Jean-Yves Leloup
“You always own the option of having no opinion. There is never any need to get
worked up or to trouble your soul about things you can't control. These things
are not asking to be judged by you. Leave them alone.”
- Marcus Aurelius
“Things sometimes go our way and sometimes they don’t. All
we can do is apply ourselves to our profession, giving our very best effort but
emotionally letting go of the outcome. Why? Because if we obsess about an
outcome, we cannot possibly honour the present moment.”
- Christopher Dines
Calmness is the cradle of power.”
- J.G. Holland
“Yoga is bringing suppleness in body, calmness in mind,
kindness in heart and awareness in life.”
- Amit Ray
"According to Ven. Sanghasena, a Buddhist monk and spiritual leader in India, equanimity is a higher state of happiness that is steady and long lasting. It is not based on the dualities of pleasure or pain, happy or sad, rich or poor. Rather than the ups and downs that come from a state of happiness based on sensual desires, equanimity is a state of non-attachment based on acceptance of what is happening in the present moment — “good” or “bad,” “pleasure” or “pain” are all concepts created in our minds. With equanimity, all is good. The term “equanimity” first entered the English language in the 17th century from the Latin “aequanimitas,” which comes from “aequus” (equal) and “animus” (mind). According to the Oxford English Dictionary, it means “calmness and composure, especially in a difficult situation”—though that general definition doesn’t capture the true essence of this powerful meta-virtue.
All the major spiritual traditions of the world
regard equanimity as central to their teachings. In verse 2.48 of the
sacred Hindu text the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna teaches: “Perform your duty
equipoised, O Arjuna, abandoning all attachment to success or failure.
Such equanimity is called yoga.” Hindus and yogis define yoga as “union
with God,” designating equanimity as the one all important virtue to
realizing their divinity. Krishna advises Arjuna to maintain
non-attachment because it’s that even-mindedness that enables us to
escape the ego’s firm grip that constantly compels us to strive for this
and avoid that. While abiding in equanimity, we can see more clearly
that all those events happening on the surface of our existence are only
as relevant as we believe them to be. In equanimity, we experience our
true Selves. Looking beyond the spiritual traditions originating
in India, Christianity too embraces equanimity as an important part of
its beliefs. St. Paul writes in Philippians 4:11:13 about focusing on
the divine rather than getting swayed by externalities: “I have learned
to be content with whatever I have. I know what it is to have little,
and I know what it is to have plenty. In any and all circumstances I
have learned the secret of being well-fed and of going hungry, of having
plenty and of being in need. I can do all things through him who
strengthens me.” According to Rabbi Chaim Vital, equanimity (“hishtavut”
in Hebrew)is a prerequisite to meditation, which in turn
is a prerequisite to realizing divine inspiration and prophecy. Unless
we can maintain equanimity, we need to further attach our consciousness
to G-d. Rabbi Avner, in a teaching on the secret of equanimity, says to
“surrender your heart even more, a true surrendering, until you have
attained equanimity. Then you will be able to meditate.” "
- Kiva Bottero, Equanimity: A Higher State of Happiness
"What is patience but an equanimity which
enables you to rise superior to the trials of life."
- William Osler
"Gratitude, not understanding, is the secret to
joy and equanimity."
- Anne Lamott
"Expect nothing and
accept everything and you will never be disappointed."
- Laurence Overmire
“Renounce attachment and look upon success and failure with an equal eye.
Spirituality implies equanimity."
- Bhagavad Gita
“There are two types of seeds in the mind: those that create anger, fear,
frustration, jealousy, hatred and those that create love, compassion, equanimity
and joy. Spirituality is germination and sprouting of the second group and
transforming the first group.”
- Amit Ray
“A modern definition of equanimity: cool. This refers to one whose mind remains
stable & calm in all situations.”
- Allan Lokos
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“You forget your feet when the shoes are comfortable. You forget your waist when
the belt is comfortable. Understanding forgets right and wrong when the mind is
comfortable. There is no change in what is inside, no following what is outside,
when the adjustment to events is comfortable. You begin with what is comfortable
and never experience what is uncomfortable when you know the comfort of
forgetting what is comfortable.”
“Change what cannot be accepted and accept what cannot be
- Reinhold Niebuhr
"Adversity, if a man is set down to it by degrees, is more
supportable with equanimity by most people than any great prosperity arrived at
in a single lifetime."
- Samuel Butler
“First, we must see that our negative actions arise due to prejudice and
erroneous judgments. The discrimination that labels some as 'friends' and others
as 'enemies' must be perceived as the root of our problems. We need to see that
we label people and things in terms of our own desires, our own wishes. These
wishes are transitory. The labeled objects are, themselves, impermanent. Such
labeling is therefore very confused and false, yet it persists, and we continue
to create suffering for ourselves. To avoid this, we need to develop equanimity
for all beings suffering in samsara, tossed to and fro by their fleeting
delusions, just like ourselves.”
- Zongtrul Losang Tsöndru
“Pursue not the outer entanglements;
Dwell not in the inner void;
Be serene in the oneness of things;
And dualism vanishes by itself.”
“Accept the seasons of your heart, even as you have always
accepted the seasons that pass over your fields.
And you would watch with serenity through the winters of your grief.”
- Kahlil Gibran
"A bridge has no allegiance to either side.”
- Les Coleman
“The best thing about being neutral and not believing or
disbelieving in anything is that the nature reveals the truth in front of you
- Aishwarya Shiva Pareek
“Within the depths of authenticity lives integrity; waiting for our return. When
we arrive, we are met with effortless joy, abundant living, peace and
wholeness--nothing lacking, nothing broken. This is soul equanimity, the state
of pure alignment with will of Source and will of self.”
- LaShaun Middlebrooks Collier
“Surrender creates equanimity and bliss because you release yourself from any
attachment to the results.”
- Annette Vaillancourt, How to Manifest Your Soulmate with Eft: Relationship as a Spiritual Path
“He who has mastered the true nature of life does not labor over what life
cannot do. He who has mastered the true nature of fate does not labor over what
knowledge cannot change.”
“I sometimes marvel at how far I’ve come - blissful, even, in the knowledge that
I am slowly becoming a well-evolved human being - only to have the illusion
shattered by an episode of bad behaviour that contradicts the new and reinforces
the old. At these junctures of self-reflection, I ask the question: “are all my
years of hard work unraveling before my eyes, or am I just having an episode?”
For the sake of personal growth and the pursuit of equanimity, I choose the
latter and accept that, on this journey of evolution, I may not encounter just
one bad day, but a group of many.”
- B.G. Bowers
"Happy is the man who can endure the highest and lowest of
fortune. He, who has endured such vicissitudes with equanimity, has
deprived misfortune of its power."
“Life, death, preservation, loss, failure, success, poverty, riches, worthiness,
unworthiness, slander, fame, hunger, thirst, cold, heat - these are the
alternations of the world, the workings of fate. Day and night they change place
before us, and wisdom cannot spy out their source. Therefore, they should not be
enough to destroy your harmony; they should not be allowed to enter the
storehouse of the spirit. If you can harmonize and delight in them, master them
and never be at a loss for joy; if you can do this day and night without break
and make it be spring with everything, mingling with all and creating the moment
within your own mind - this is what I call being whole in power.”
“Equanimity is the hallmark of spirituality. It is neither chasing nor avoiding
but just being in the middle.”
- Amit Ray
“What is first seen as a loss is now seen as a gain. For he
finds solitude, not in far off, quite places; he creates it out of himself,
spreads it around him, wherever he may be, because he loves it and slowly he
ripens in this tranquility. For the inner process is beginning to unfold,
stillness is extraordinarily important.”
- Janwillem van de Wetering
upekṣhā) is one of the
sublime attitudes and is considered: 'Neither a thought nor an emotion, it is rather the steady conscious
realization of reality's transience. It is the ground for
and the protector of
love. While some may think of equanimity as dry neutrality or cool
aloofness, mature equanimity produces a radiance and warmth of being. The
Buddha described a mind filled with equanimity as "abundant, exalted,
immeasurable, without hostility and without ill-will." '
- Equanimity - Wikipedia
“We are not going to change the whole world, but we can
change ourselves and feel free as birds. We can be serene even in the midst of
calamities and, by our serenity, make others more tranquil. Serenity is
contagious. If we smile at someone, he or she will smile back. And a smile costs
nothing. We should plague everyone with joy. If we are to die in a minute, why
not die happily, laughing? (136-137)”
- Swami Satchidananda
“It is in your power to withdraw yourself whenever you
desire. Perfect tranquility within consists in the good ordering of the mind,
the realm of your own.”
- Marcus Aurelius
“Our life depends on the kind of thoughts we nurture. If
our thoughts are peaceful, calm, meek, and kind, then that is what our life is
like. If our attention is turned to the circumstances in which we live, we are
drawn into a whirlpool of thoughts and can have neither peace nor tranquility.”
- Thaddeus of Vitovnica
“A calm soul is a heavenly being. Live each day
with ecstatic serenity.”
- Lailah Gifty Akita
"Happiness, true happiness, is an inner quality. It is a state of mind. If your mind is at peace, you are happy. If your mind is at peace, but you have nothing else, you can be happy. If you have everything the world can give - pleasure, possessions, power - but lack peace of mind, you can never be happy."
"Because we want to be inwardly secure, we are
constantly seeking methods and means for this security, and thereby we create
authority, the worship of another, which destroys comprehension, that
spontaneous tranquility of mind in which alone there can be a state of
- Jiddu Krishnamurti
“The fact is, inner peace isn't something that comes when
you finally paint the whole house a nice shade of cream and start drinking
herbal tea. Inner peace is something that is shaped by the wisdom that 'this too
shall pass' and is fired in the kiln of self-knowledge...”
- Tania Ahsan
“How you carry yourself speaks volumes about how you
feel about yourself.”
- Cindy Ann Peterson
“Composure is the first rung of leadership.”
- Junaid e Mustafa
"Spirituality is the ability to say - It is OK, in
- Rajesh Nanoo
“Poise is an unseen power,
And this unseen power is always ready
To come to the aid of the outer action.”
- Sri Chinmoy
“He took each fact as it came and let it slip
painlessly into the back of his mind, thinking, Okay, okay, I'll think about
that one later; and that one; and that one; so that the alert, front part of
his mind could remain free enough to keep him in command of the situation.”
- Richard Yates
“Life is a series of natural and spontaneous
changes. Don't resist them; that only creates sorrow. Let reality be
reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.”
- Lao Tzu
“Death, therefore, the most awful of evils, is
nothing to us, seeing that, when we are, death is not come, and, when death
is come, we are not.”
The Art of Happiness. By Epicurus. Translation and commentary by George K. Strodach. Penguin Classics, 2012.
The Birth of Hedonism: The Cyrenaic Philosophers and Pleasure as a Way of Life. By Kurt Lampe. Princeton University Press, 2014.
The Conquest of Happiness By Bertrand Russell. Introduction by Daniel Dennett. Liveright, 1930, 2013.
Epicureanism at the Origins of Modernity By Catherine Wilson. Oxford University Press, 2008.
Epicureanism: A Very Short Introduction By Catherine Wilson. Oxford University Press, 2016.
Happiness: A History By Darrin M. McMahon. Grove Press, 2006.
The Hedonism Handbook: Mastering The Lost Arts Of Leisure And Pleasure By Michael Flocker. DaCapo Press, 2004.
The How of Happiness: A New Approach to Getting the Life You Want By Sonja Lyubomirsky. Penguin Books, 2008.
The Morality of Happiness By Julia Annas. Oxford University Press, 1995.
Nicomachean Ethics By Aristotle. Translated by Christopher Rowe. Commentary and notes by Sarah Broadie. Oxford University Press, 2002.
On Desire: Why We Want What We Want By William B. Irvine. Oxford University Press, 2006.
Pursuits of Wisdom: Six Ways of Life in Ancient Philosophy from Socrates to Plotinus By John M. Cooper. Princeton University Press, 2012.
Time and the Art of Living
By Robert Grudin. Mariner Books, 1997.
Travels with Epicurus: A Journey to a Greek Island in Search of a Fulfilled Life
By Daniel Klein. New York,
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The Wisdom of Pleasures: "The School of Voluptuousness" and "The Art of Enjoyment." By Julien Offray de La Mettrie, 1747.
Cloud Hands Blog. By Michael P. Garofalo. Over 2,400 indexed posts on well being, philosophy, somaesthetics, taijiquan, qigong, walking, gardening, yoga, Taoism, hedonism, and spirituality. Over 700,000 page views as of 6/1/2016.
Green Way Research, Red Bluff, California
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