“I just want to be happy”, is not an uncommon sentiment either for ourselves or our offspring. It is perhaps a little trite, wistful and ill defined. What is this thing, this state of mind, happiness? Have you found it? Where did you find it? Is it long lasting?
If you think about it eternal happiness or bliss, might get a little boring after a while. There would be no contrast, no dynamic range to life. Sitting all blissed out, what would you do? Maybe a balanced equanimity would be “better”, more achievable and ultimately more satisfying. The desire for happiness is in itself causal of suffering. When the desire is not met, suffering follows. When it is met and found to be transitory, the balloon deflates. Surely a sense of balance is the wiser, the magnet needs both a north and a south pole, to be complete.
Whilst the storms of emotion rage there can be no equanimity, only turbulence.
In order to get equanimity, one has to pierce the illusion of social conditioning, of ambition and of attachment. Anything we are attached to has in it the potential of suffering. For should it be threatened or taken from us, we suffer the severing of this elastic band of attachment. The umbilical is cut. In this, the concept of ownership is at the heart of being attached. If we own, we are attached. If we rent, by the grace of the universe, we take less for granted. As a consequence, we value more whilst not being attached, with a rental mind. Because life is transitory we experience it more deeply.
To achieve equanimity, one has to remove prejudice and seek to increase objectivity. There is no thing with only one side. One must be able to see and appreciate both (or more) sides. Balance cannot be fixed, it must perforce be fluid. Anything fixed can be unbalanced, that which flows can adjust and regain balance. For unless we are perfected we will lose our centre. The trick is, I guess, to regain it without flailing around at all and sundry, to damp the oscillations.
There is a problem in reducing attachment and it stems not only from oneself. Others want you to be attached. So not only will you have to deal with your own attachments but those of others. Some seek this attachment in you so that they can manipulate and leverage you through these attachments.
This relates back to Exit Strategies. If you are no longer attached, there is no desire to reincarnate, thereby you have freed yourself from the wheel of rebirth. In this sense you have achieved a sense of equanimity about life and death. They are but two sides of the same earthly coin.
But first you must cross the stormy seas of emotion.
I’ll pose this question:
Which has more wisdom to it, the search or quest for happiness or the relaxed aim of equanimity which is an ongoing process?