Equanimity means “mental calmness, composure, and evenness of temper, especially in a difficult situation.” Typically, equanimity is regarded as a tenet of eastern philosophies and religions. Yet, looking at the definition, it is easy to find universal truths and experiences. Calmness, composure, and emotional regulation in the face of trial or tribulation are challenges met by everyone attempting to walk a spiritually grounded path.
Even-temperedness is a marking characteristic of equanimity. Despite circumstance, condition, or event, someone who maintains equanimity maintains their composure. Equanimity is not to be confused with apathy. Someone who practices equanimity is full of emotion including compassion and empathy toward others. Their centers are simply so grounded in their faith and beliefs that they can remain unshaken. Neither their desires nor their oppositions are controlling matters in their life.
If equanimity had a mantra it might be “this too shall pass”. Daily, we frantically give in to our mind’s every whim and whimsy. We believe fear to be fact, assumption to be truth, and judgment to be damning. Without a spiritual, grounded center, every little thing can throw us off balance. Through the work of recovery and the development of our spirituality we learn to practice acceptance in order to achieve serenity. Accepting the things we cannot change and letting them go is suppose to offer us relief. If not relief, being in acceptance is supposed to rival being in control.
Equanimity is a manifestation of resting in God’s grace and trusting in His plan. Humbled is another word that could be used to describe the state of equanimity. Christian equanimity is a matter of recognizing that our thoughts and ideas can only go so far compared to God’s. Additionally, when we truly accept that we “can do all things through God who strengthens” us, we cannot feel weakened by anything. Writing on Christian equanimity, Frederic and Maryann Brussat reference the teachings of Paul in the fourth chapter of Philippians.
They write, “He has no preference for plenty and abundance. He has no aversion to hunger or want. He is content with whatever he has because all that matters in his life is Christ.”