Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Faces of Love: Upekka

Practicing the Immeasurable Mind of Equanimity extinguishes hatred, aversion and attachment in the heart of all living beings
-Prajnaparamitra Shastra

Tonight we are going to talk about Upekka, or equanimity. This is perhaps the most difficult of all the practices. While the practice is called equanimity, many tend to focus on what it brings: freedom.

Many adults today are afflicted by a soul sickness. With our "love" comes attachment and prejudice. Upekka teaches us this is not true love.

If you intend to give your loved one the space to be themselves, you have made a beginning. Addictions also fall into this category.

If you are addicted to alcohol, the alcohol robs you of your freedom. You view yourself as nothing without it. Because you are less than the alcohol, you are not practicing upekka.

If you have a girlfriend, boyfriend or spouse, and you cling to them by being controlling, jealous, or posessive, you are not practicing upekka. We must free ourselves of this distrust. It is the corroding thread in a relationship. If you don't trust the one you love, you are not practicing upekka.

But if you know you do these things and have the intention to stop, you have made a beginning. You must transform these feelings, even if they may be justified by actions of the other person in the past.

By using mindfulness, we can see where are actions smother others, including ourselves. But we must go further. We must learn to see how we rob everyone of their freedom, even those we dislike. The observation gleaned from mindfulness is the key to transforming any negative behavior.

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