Your Moment Is

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Take things in your stride

When something that we did goes wrong, and we feel upset, we are actually bothered not so much by our action itself as by the outcome of that action. It is the spilled coffee, the failed examinations or the failed relationship that bring negative emotions to our minds. Similarly, it is the successes, achievements and accomplishments – rather than our actions that produced these outcomes – that bring us positive emotions.

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Maintaining equanimity is about keeping the mind open to all types of outcomes, and accepting all outcomes regardless of the judgments we make of them. Why do this? Firstly let’s consider that all our actions may produce four types of outcomes in relation to our expectations.

For example, I might go to a shopping mall wanting to buy a pair of jeans that I’ve always wanted.

1. The first possible outcome is that the jeans are available for sale at a price that I can afford.

2. The second possible outcome is that jeans are being sold at half of my budget.

3. The third possible outcome is that the jeans are being sold at twice my budget and

hence way beyond what I can afford.

4. The fourth possible outcome is that the jeans are sold out.

Now ask yourself, how would you have responded in each of these four situations? More often than not, when the outcomes are less than expected, our mind goes into a negative spiral of emotions. We get upset, disappointed, sad or frustrated over such outcomes.

 

Worse, these emotions often have a spillover effect on other aspects of our lives. They affect those around us, including our loved ones, and can even totally ruin our entire day. All because our expectations were not met.

 

Maintaining equanimity is being able to accept any of the four outcomes without these mental disturbances, without being swayed by our emotions. It is our emotional reactions that make us act in ways that are less than desirable. The role of mindfulness is to allow you to accept any of the four outcomes with equanimity.

(Excerpt from Mindfulness in 8 Days)

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