Consider if you are on a sailboat and you are fishing. And then when you are below deck you hear a big thud. You run above deck and notice that another sailboat has hit your bow on the starboard side. If there is another man in that sailboat, you may start cursing at him and chiding him for being careless.
Now suppose that there is nobody on that other boat. It is an empty sailboat that has been lost at sea. Then your reaction is totally different. You don’t really react at all. You are not angry in this situation. In the previous example, it is your ego talking. “How dare you run into my boat?” is how your ego reacts to begin struck by the other boat.
Endeavor then to strive to perfect equanimity in either one of the above cases, (which is defined as evenness of mind under stresses or aplomb, equilibrium, countenance, sangfroid, imperturbability, repose).
Pick your occupation carefully, make sure it is suited to your personality. Any deviation from this will break your equanimity. Interestingly, in terms of occupations, “ the artists are seldom blessed with equanimity. They are tossed by the winds to drunken heights, only to be brought down into a sludge a terrific despair. When successful, their arrogance gives away to humiliation at the next curve of the switchback”, says so Patrick White, Flaws in the Glass (1981).
When you experience grief, don’t fight it. There are stages of grief and a constellation of symptoms that you may have to go through including: Disbelief, Confusion, Guilt, Sleep Disturbances. The important thing here is that you must let your mind naturally go through these stages. And it is important not to blame yourself. Just go and sit in prayer, meditation, or any activity that has shown for others to be effective, like reaching out to others in your grief situation. Give it time, and lean on other who may be having a similar experience.
You may like a walk in the woods or a nice hot bath that has shown to bring back equanimity, depending on what is causing the grief. Naturally, there are some grief episodes that are harder than others to overcome. The death of a loved one is much more painful than a split bottle of milk. For myself, it is a trip to the spa and gym, a ritual of showering, laps in the swimming pool, then the steam room, whirlpool, sauna, and lifting weights for a couple of hours. Afterwards, any grief events seemed just as a dream, and it restores balance.
Be mindful each and every moment where your mind is, and react to establish the equanimity and balance if you are feeling tense or worried. Be mindful that the winds of fate will events into your day life a leaf blowing in the wind, knowing that at any time you could start sailing up in the sky and then go tumbling down into the ground. Where you are in the ruler of inner peace is how you react in both situations. Strive to be unaffected by either extreme, and you will know that you are approaching enlightenment.