One thing for certain in life is that it has both its ups and downs.
A common myth however is that happiness is based on the quantity of these ups and downs. Most believe that the more good moments they have rather than bad moments, then the more happy they will be overall.
But this isn’t necessarily so. Life isn’t about the exact quantity of ups and downs, but rather how smoothly we ride between these inevitable ups and downs.
Good things and bad things happen to everyone, but the individuals who are most happy are the ones who manage both with ease and equanimity.
Equanimity is a mental state of calmness and stability that can be applied to almost any experience. It’s a middle ground perspective between what we normally see as “positive” or “negative.”
This state of stability comes with the insight that all of reality is ultimately transient. Everything is subject to change from one moment to the next: thoughts, emotions, habits, goals, or relationships. There is almost no facet of our existence that is completely fixed and permanent.
Therefore, the “good” and the “bad” don’t define our lives, they are just small fragments of a much larger picture. And cultivating this big picture view allows us to navigate more easily between the good, the bad, and everything in between.
Recognizing the impermanence of our lives teaches us not to cling to the “good” or run from the “bad.” It shows us how to appreciate every moment for what it is, because it’s there for a reason, and it’s not something that’s going to last forever.
So the next time you find yourself down, don’t be too surprised, because you know that it’s a necessary part of life. And don’t be too worried about it either, because you know it’ll eventually change – just like everything else.
And the next time you find yourself up, try to remind yourself that this high isn’t going to last forever either. Enjoy it for moment, but don’t go chasing it when it’s gone, because you know it’ll eventually change – just like everything else.
Understanding the inevitable ups and downs in your life is a great starting point in building more equanimity and inner peace. Pay closer attention to your mood, and you’ll find there are many small ups and downs we experience nearly everyday.
It’s a part of life.
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