The other day, a monk from my yoga and meditation group posted a Facebook live video about remaining unperturbed in the face of external stimuli. His comment struck me primarily because I’m not unperturbed. I’m disturbed by every little thing. When the news is bad, I feel bad. When the news is good, I feel good. My mood of late seems to be tied to what’s going on in the world. This is not how I want to live.
Tying my mood to anything external is a dangerous business because things in the external world are so changeable. I think it’s important to know what’s going on in society, but to plunge from high to low at the drop of a hat is exhausting. My spiritual teacher advocates mental balance and equipoise and said, “We must maintain our mental balance and remain indifferent to both praise and slander, to both joy and sorrow.”
I’ve heard this concept before: to remain unaffected by what people say because our self-esteem and self-worth comes from within, but I haven’t thought about the concept much in terms of the news. Seems wise, especially as the news these days runs from bizarre to baffling. How to accomplish this though?
The short answer is to turn inward. To keep remembering what’s really important, to hold tight to our innermost presence. About this process my teacher said, “The charming allurements of the external world no longer keep their minds in thrall. The dazzling splendor of form and color, their glittering attraction, no longer evokes any response in the innermost recesses of their minds. The radiance of the colorful world and the effulgence of their inner life become one.”
Yes please. I’d love for the “radiance of the colorful world and the effulgence of [my] inner life” to become one. That sounds delightful. I’d like to remain unassailed by circumstances, for my mind to remain steady regardless of what’s happening externally. I’m pretty sure the only way to do this is to keep aligning my will with my higher power’s. To take shelter under the benevolent and loving force that pervades the universe and to keep letting go over and over again.
I dream of a world where we maintain mental balance. A world where external circumstances don’t affect us so drastically. A world where we keep turning inward over and over again. A world where we take shelter under the unaffected and unassailed power that’s greater than us.
Another world is not only possible, it’s probable.