middot equanimity daily living the torrents of life

the torrents of life

Written by  rav rafael

So often we get caught up in the torrents of life, being tossed this way and that by everyday events.  This has a bad effect on the tranquility of our soul.  We become unsettled and unfocused.  Our perspective and clarity are drawn to only the drama of the present moment and we lose vision of the big picture of life.  Our goal is to rise above these events and have a sense of wide perspective at all times.  By imagining the “big picture” of each life event, we gain a peacefulness of the mind and soul.


fleeing to sanity

Often times the environments we dwell in can subject us to a constant stimulus of dramatic events.  To some degree we need to evaluate where we place ourselves and consider removing some of the stimulus which is not adding to our life value.  Visualize all the places you frequent out in the world, and in your various social networks.   As an exercise, cut out one of those environments which is frequently a source of drama that distracts and disorients you.  After you have done this, be sure to reflect on the impact of removing that stimulus in your journal.

Putting yourself in tranquil situations is not always the answer.   Retreating to a cave may give you peace of mind, but you also remove your positive impact on the world.  We are not talking escapism.  We are talking an awareness of the big picture that the events of our life fit into, even as they are happening.  Someone who has truly mastered equanimity can weather events and not be jostled and disoriented. 

“As long as one lives a life of calmness and tranquility in the service of God, it is clear that he is remote from true service.” (Rabbi Yisrael Salanter)

what drama?

You may feel like you are already strong in the trait of equanimity.  You find that the dramas of life are not distracting you and you are staying the course.  If this is the case you may already have a good balance but there is still some evaluation to perform.   One risk of being too good at equanimity is that you are not sensitive enough to those around you and input of events in your environment.  Do you often feel unaffected or numb when someone close to you is going through a tough situation or even a time of great joy?  Do you not feel what they feel?  This indicates too much equanimity where you are lacking the ability to feel empathy with those around you, to relate and share the feelings of the moment.   Feeling what is going on around you is good.  The key is to not become unsettled by them.  You need to work on your equanimity if those feelings become a paralyzing distraction that requires significant time to recover.

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