Emotions and Equanimity

Mindful Awareness

by Jayaram V

Summary: Emotions and Equanimity The Right Place to begin your journey into spirituality.


Emotions are like barometers. They let you know what is going in you or what threats and opportunities are present in your life or environment. Thus, they very much act like messengers and prepare you for the problems and situations in your life and help you in your survival and success. You should not suppress emotions. If you do, you will be emotionally numb.

Most people are so drawn outwardly and become so involved with the world that they do not pay attention to their emotions. They become lost in problems and daily situations and lose touch with their own feelings.

As they stop listening, they also lose touch with reality and thereby fail to perceive problems and situations objectively. In the process they also make mistakes and wrong decisions, which may affect their lives, careers and relationships. Emotions are useful to perceive reality and know what is going on in you and around you. If you want to know yourself, pay attention to your emotions and their causes. If you want to cultivate sameness or equanimity and learn to accept yourself unconditionally, emotions are the best place to begin with.

You can practice sameness towards all your emotions by overcoming feelings of attraction and aversion towards them, with the understanding that there are no good and bad emotions. Some emotions may be harmful if you cannot manage them. They are harmful only when you do not know how to deal with them or express them.

From the spiritual perspective, emotions are very helpful to practice equanimity. Equanimity means you neither aggravate nor justify nor control your emotions. You indulge in neither self-criticism nor self-defense nor rationalization, nor you feel guilt or remorse. You just let them arise and subside on their own, without judgment. With sameness towards all your emotions and feelings, without judgment or feelings of guilt and remorse, you can listen to them and learn from them about your personality, thinking, problems and situations.

Therefore, when emotions arise, instead of suppressing them, try to understand their causes and what makes you emotional in certain situations. Instead of self-criticism or feeling guilt, do self-critical evaluation with objectivity and mindfulness. Thereby you become more familiar with your emotional intelligence and gain insight into what makes you angry, happy, unhappy, fearful or envious. That information is vital to withdraw your mind and stabilize it to experience peace and equanimity.

Emotions are just messengers. They let you know what is going on within you and around you. Emotions do upset your mind, peace and balance. However, they should be viewed as effects rather than causes. They are caused by factors which break your peace and emotional stability. You have to identify them and deal with them than the emotions which result from them. There are no good or bad emotions. We are conditioned by society to view them as such. Since people cannot accept their own emotions, they cannot accept the emotions of others also unless they are pleasant and conducive to harmony and peace. This conditioning is why we have such negative attitude towards our most powerful emotions such as anger and fear which are vital to our survival.

While those labels and social norms may help you relate to the world and present yourself in an agreeable manner, it also makes your vulnerable to poor judgment, selective perception and irrational decisions. Therefore, when it comes to emotions it is better to go with the flow with sameness and equanimity, and use the occasion to know them and improve your emotional intelligence. Emotions are better managed when they are experienced without filters, with sameness and mindfulness, and their causes are better understood. It is the first important step to self-acceptance, self-awareness and self-transformation. You can effectively do it when you are free from bias, low self-esteem and judgment.

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