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I always thought equanimity meant finding a balance – somewhat analogous to the way the body achieves homeostasis. My parents frequently cited a saw from their parents’ generation they felt was a key to equanimity, “everything in moderation.”

Another word that comes to mind is calm. For Christians, “the peace of God that passes all understanding” describes an inner tranquility from a divine source that exists as the eye in life’s storms.

For Buddhists, the sources of suffering stem from our attachments and our aversions. Until now I understood the balancing act to involve distancing ourselves from those things that elicit in us too much desire or revulsion. However, this week I found another meaning while reading David Whyte’s book, The Three Marriages.

In the Buddhist tradition the ability to be happy is often translated into English as “equanimity,” roughly meaning to be equal to things, to be large enough for the drama in which we find ourselves. (p. 32)

This opened me to a new appreciation for what it means to face into those things that most trouble us.

The election has revealed the extent to which our national body is out of balance. One step in regaining equilibrium might be for each of us to sit with these questions and open ourselves to the answers that surface:

Can we summon the better angels in us to let go of some outcomes to which we are attached and open ourselves to greet new possibilities in our current drama?

How can we be large enough to turn our individual and collective bodies toward healing and homeostasis?

What does it require of each of us to be equal to these things?