Posted by: Michael Rickicki | 06/15/2018

Eid Mubarak and Equanimity

It so happens that today is Eid al Fitr and I’m on my way to spend it with the in-laws. Of course, as with most familial situations, there is a certain level of stress and discord involved. Not to be melodramatic but I can at least be thankful that blame for wrongdoing has no shifted to me rather than my spouse for an incident that almost resulted in an Eid al Fitr boycott.

It seems that there is always a need in families and groups to have a sacrificial lamb or scape goat in order to reinforce in-group bonds. Hopefully, my wife can benefit and her relationship with her parents will be somewhat healed.

Thanks to my practice, rather than stewing over the supposed injustice, the first thought that occurred to me was that this is the perfect occasion to practice equanimity. When praised or blamed, what could be a better response than upekkha? Knowing that the world and people are inconstant and stressful and that we and everyone else are heirs to our kamma it seems to me that there is no better reaction than to cultivate even mindedness. To wit:

What, now, is the nature of that insight? It is the clear understanding of how all these vicissitudes of life originate, and of our own true nature. We have to understand that the various experiences we undergo result from our kamma — our actions in thought, word and deed — performed in this life and in earlier lives. Kamma is the womb from which we spring (kamma-yoni), and whether we like it or not, we are the inalienable “owners” of our deeds (kamma-ssaka). But as soon as we have performed any action, our control over it is lost: it forever remains with us and inevitably returns to us as our due heritage (kamma-dayada). Nothing that happens to us comes from an “outer” hostile world foreign to ourselves; everything is the outcome of our own mind and deeds. Because this knowledge frees us from fear, it is the first basis of equanimity. When, in everything that befalls us we only meet ourselves, why should we fear?

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Shillelagh Studies

A hub for the music, culture, knowledge, and practice of Irish stick-fighting, past and present.