We're only human

Photo by Vladimir Malyutin on Unsplash
Photo by Vladimir Malyutin on Unsplash

I hope this isn't too random or too obscure.

If it is, I apologise in advance.

We're human. 

That means (and speaking personally) we think — constantly.

And stories, emotions and feelings emerge. 

The waters are choppy at the best of times, but there's a strong inclination to avoid the crappy thoughts (or shove them down) and savour or encourage the good ones. 

If that's not your experience, fine, but when I was growing up, no one explained to me that thinking was part of the human condition, how it might then operate over the course of my life and that it's a random affair, despite repeatedly being told that the apogee of life was to be (constantly) happy. And I clearly bought into this. Remember, one of the first personal development books I ever bought was "Think and Grow Rich" by Napoleon Hill. Can you imagine it? Thinking yourself rich! It's positively chortle-worthy.

One other thing that's rarely discussed is that we live in a subject (us)/object (everything else) world — i.e. it's dualistic. Imagine, though, removing the subject just long enough to opine upon the thing that previously we took for granted. 

Take something as obvious as the things we see — e.g. clouds, the moon, the sun and all things in nature. Absent us, you might argue that there's just..., err..., well..., something, but you can't evince any labels. 

Do you remember my J. Krishnamurti quote from a few weeks back? He puts it quite nicely.

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Photo by chuttersnap on Unsplash
Photo by chuttersnap on Unsplash

equanimity (n.)

c. 1600, "fairness, impartiality," from French équanimité, from Latin aequanimitatem (nominative aequanimitas) "evenness of mind, calmness; good-will, kindness," from aequanimis "mild, kind," literally "even-minded," from aequus "even, level" (see equal (adj.)) + animus "mind, spirit" (see animus). Meaning "evenness of temper" in English is from 1610s.

I'm not ignoring the events (in the UK at least) of the last few days — see here and here — but I'm not inclined, save for the odd 'like' on Twitter, to add my voice to the cacophony of people who, rightly and understandably, will consider the handling of the Covid19 pandemic a massive betrayal of trust, where there is clearly one set of rules for 'us' and a different set for Mr Cummings and presumably those Ministers, including (of all people) the Attorney General, who have so publicly backed him.

Instead, and as misplaced as it may seem, I want to touch on something that feels more apposite to my safe harbour in these troubled times and, no doubt, the many more to follow; namely, equanimity. 

Above, I've given you the etymological definition but the dictionary will tell you it means: 

a calm state of mind and attitude to life, so that you never lose your temper or become upset.
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Quote of the day

“Many people try to find a spiritual path where they do not have to face themselves but where they can still liberate themselves — liberate themselves from themselves, in fact. In truth, this is impossible. We cannot do that. We have to be honest with ourselves. We have to see our gut, our real shit, our most undesirable parts. We have to see that. That is the foundation of warriorship and the basis of conquering fear. We have to face our fear; we have to look at it, study it, work with it, and practice meditation with it.”
Chögyam Trungpa, Smile at Fear: Awakening the True Heart of Bravery

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