middot equanimity besorah be anxious for nothing

be anxious for nothing

Written by  rabbi benjamin ehrenfeld

art-front-seatsBe anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Messiah Yeshua. (Phillipians 4:6, 7)

Control can be a very powerful human motivation. On the one hand, maintaining control of a given situation can be healthy and vitally important.

When taken to extremes, or applied in the wrong the areas of life, the tendencies to control can be damaging. When people feel like they need to maintain or gain control problems develop. When people feel as if they have no control destructive behaviors run amuck.

Sometimes equanimity is best demonstrated when keeping a level headed perspective so you don’t lose control over your actions. Other times, equanimity requires acceptance that you do not have control over everything. When Shaul writes, “be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God,” he is teaching us that awareness of needs should provoke us to put our hope in God. “The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding,” is the deepest level of equanimity there is. This may sound esoteric, but the truth is that equanimity is partially about transcending the situation in front of you to look at the situation from an angle where you are not currently experiencing it. Guess what? God always has the best seats in the house. God will always be better able to see the fullness of what is going on and when we find our limited vision tripping us up it is then that our greatest hope for equanimity depends explicitly on him.

I find hitbodedut to be the greatest equanimity builder in my life. Being sure to not go more than a day without laying out all my hopes and concerns before God enables me to be better able to let go when life doesn’t go my way. Yes, God knows my needs without my needing to say anything. At the same time, I can lose my awareness of God if I go too long without actively seeking him out for help and guidance. We could all benefit from making time to “fill God in” on what we are going through…who knows…it might open us all to deeper levels of equanimity.

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