Equanimity in Changing Times

“With equanimity, you can deal with situations with calm and reason while keeping your inner happiness.” – The Dalai Lama

What is the quality of your mind lately? Do you feel anxious or scared? Do you feel calm and centered? How can you create equanimity in changing times?

According to the dictionary, equanimity is mental calmness, composure, and evenness of temper, especially in a difficult situation.

Be careful of things that disturb your equanimity. Do you feel distracted and anxious when you watch the news? Are you on your phone or computer too long? Remember, the main purpose of your phone, computer, and television is to keep you “hooked.”

Below are some equanimity key points, by Rick Hanson, Ph.D., “Buddha’s Brain: The practical neuroscience of happiness, love, and wisdom:”

  • Equanimity means not reacting to your reactions, whatever they are.
  • Equanimity creates a buffer around the feeling tones of experiences so that you do not react to them with craving. Equanimity is like a circuit breaker that blocks the normal sequence in the mind that moves from feeling tone to craving to clinging to suffering.
  • Equanimity is not coldness, indifference, or apathy. You are present in the world but not upset by it. The spaciousness of equanimity is great support for compassion, kindness, and joy at the happiness of others.
  • In daily life and meditation, deepen your equanimity by becoming increasingly mindful of the feeling tones of experience and increasingly disenchanted with them. They come, and they go, and they’re not worth chasing or resisting.
  • Imagine the contents of your mind coming and going in a vast open space of awareness, like shooting stars. The feeling tones of experience are just more contents moving through this space. Boundless space surrounds them – dwarfing them, untroubled by them, unaffected by their passing.

“Trust in awareness, in being awake, rather than in transient and unstable conditions.” – Ajahn Sumedho

Namaste, world.

I Stand Up for Human Rights

I stand up for human rights. I think face masks should be optional for people – not mandatory. I do not trust the government and their hidden agendas.

If face masks are mandatory (as they are in Minnesota), then why are babies and small children exempt? Why? Because it’s inhumane. Face masks are cruel and dangerous. So, why are people accepting this rule?

Face masks are dangerous:

https://nypost.com/2020/05/06/two-boys-drop-dead-in-china-while-wearing-masks-during-gym-class/

https://medium.com/theusareviewer/the-potential-dangers-of-wearing-a-face-mask-51b9b86980a

I stand up for human rights. Every human being needs to breathe normally. Masks make breathing difficult. “I can’t breathe.”

I stand up for human rights. I am an advocate of peace, unity, equality, dignity, justice, and freedom.

I stand up for human rights. Every human being is born free. The government wants to take our freedom away (wants to kneel on our necks).

I stand up for human rights. I love you, my brothers and sisters. Please stand up for human rights. Let no mask silence you.

Namaste, world.

2020 Vision

Many spiritual leaders say 2020 is the year of spiritual awakening. Soon the veil will be lifted, and many people will become awake to the truth of our human existence. Now it is up to us to increase our love energy and see with 2020 vision.

Things to be aware of:

  • The birds are still chirping, and the squirrels are still climbing trees. We can look to nature for balancing and grounding.
  • During this awakening, we must go within. Mediation and gratitude is the secret recipe for inner stability and generating positive energy.
  • We need to follow our hearts and do what is right. If something is not right, speak up.
  • Let your intuition guide you every day.
  • COVID-19 will help us awaken.
  • As eternal beings, we are here to be part of this great awakening.
  • Remember that there are lightworkers in our political system. They are working hard to bring love and wisdom to our leaders.
  • Be mindful of your thoughts and feelings.
  • Remember, transformation can be a bumpy road.
  • Stay in the present moment.
  • Focus on what you want in life.

Gratitude Meditation

Sit in a comfortable position for meditation. Close your eyes. Become aware of your breath. Take a few deep breaths to center yourself. After you feel centered, find a spot to focus on your breath for a few minutes. You can feel your breath at the tip of your nose, inside your nose, in your chest, or abdomen. After you take the time to feel your breath, you can think about what you are grateful for in your life. Once you have thought of something, take a deep breath. Then exhale through your mouth (creating wind), and release your thought/intention (mentally) as you breathe out into the air. Set three gratitude intentions and then return to your breathing meditation.

A few ideas to express gratitude: You can thank God or the Universe for your life. You can express gratitude for your health. Be thankful for your family. Etc.

Namaste, world.

Jennifer’s Poem

Jennifer's Poem (May 2020)

Dear Jennifer, 
I am here. 
The proof is in my tear. 
You are walking Heaven's mile, 
as I miss your joyful smile. 
I will follow your ways. 
Let your spirit shine rays. 
Friends forever we will be. 
I remember you - please remember me. 
I am here. 
Jennifer, dear. 

- Gina M. Gafford 

Almost a week ago, I was sleeping in a tent at Gooseberry Falls State Park, Minnesota. It was dark outside, and the wind was blowing into the tent. I don’t know if it was windy or if I was dreaming. Then, through a rush of wind, I heard someone say, “I am here.” Right away, my mind went to my friend, Jennifer.

Jennifer died in December 2019 from breast cancer. She was such a good friend, and I miss her dearly. I wrote “Jennifer’s Poem” for her upcoming celebration of life ceremony.

I know my friend very well, and I think she’d want me to know that there’s an afterlife and that she’s okay. Moments like this remind me how connected we are in life and death.

Fun-loving, carefree Jennifer

Namaste, world.

The Prepared Mind

About a week ago, I had a dream that I was in India, having lunch with an Indian woman. The woman asked me, “What are you going to do for your community?” I decided to blog about getting your home prepared. But what about the prepared mind?

On Facebook, several people expressed that they are getting depressed about the whole COVID-19 pandemic. They are tired of wearing masks, social distancing, and having so many new rules.

So how can you protect yourself from depression and prepare your mind during this pandemic? First of all, it’s spiritual preparation. You can create a strong mind by going within yourself. Get to know yourself through meditation.

What other ways can you become spiritually prepared? Pray, volunteer to help others, set good intentions for yourself and all living creatures (do the loving-kindness meditation), journal, read the sutras or religious scripture.

Also, remember the power of love. Keep running love energy (not fear energy).

Here is a great article by Mayo Clinic about building a spiritual life during COVID-19: https://www.mayoclinichealthsystem.org/hometown-health/speaking-of-health/building-your-spiritual-life-during-covid-19-changes

Namaste, world.

Silence and Space

“If you take some time to formally practice meditation, there is a lot of silence and space. Meditation practice itself is a way to create gaps. Every time you realize you are thinking and you let your thoughts go, you are creating a gap. Every time the breath goes out, you are creating a gap. You may not always experience it that way, but the basic meditation instruction is designed to be full of gaps. If you don’t fill up your practice time with your discursive mind, with your worry and obsessing and all that kind of thing, you have time to experience the blessing of your surroundings. You can just sit there quietly. Then maybe silence with dawn on you, and the sacredness of space will penetrate.” – Pema Chodron

Be Prepared (COVID-19)

Last night I had a dream that I was practicing yoga with Buddhist monks. During the yoga practice, the lead monk told me to see myself floating. I tried my hardest to levitate, but I couldn’t do it. According to 10,000 Dreams Interpreted, by Gustavus Hindman Miller, “To dream of floating, denotes that you will victoriously overcome obstacles which are seemingly overwhelming.” I did not float in the dream – I tried to. So, that means I still have to overcome some obstacles.

Then my dream skipped to a place in India. I saw a great building that was over a mile long. Inside the building, I met an Indian woman. We sat down for lunch. She asked me, “What are you going to do for your community?” I didn’t answer her – instead, I woke up from the dream.

When I woke up, the dream was on my mind. Mostly my curiosity about levitation and what I can do for my community. I realized that this blog is one way I can help my community. So, today’s blog encourages everyone to prepare for uncertainty.

On my March 16, 2020 blog post, I said, “It is amazing how life can change so quickly.” In a few months, life can change again. It’s good to prepare or keep preparing.

Here is a home checklist summary (from http://www.theprepared.com):

Be well. Namaste, world.

If I had my Life to Live Over

“If I had my Life to Live Over, ” by Nadine Starr at age 85

I’d dare to make more mistakes next time. I’d relax. I would limber up. I would be sillier than I have been this trip.

I would take fewer things seriously. I would take more chances. I would take more trips. I would climb more mountains and swim more rivers. I would eat more ice cream and less beans. I would perhaps have more actual troubles, but I’d have fewer imaginary ones.

You see, I’m one of those people who live sensibly and sanely…hour after hour, day after day. Oh, I’ve had my moments and if I had it to do over again…I’d have more of them. In fact, I’d try to have nothing else, just moments, one after another, instead of living so many years ahead of each day.

I’ve been one of those persons who never goes anywhere without a thermometer, a hot water bottle, a raincoat, and an umbrella. If I had to do it again, I would travel lighter than I have.

If I had my life to live over, I would start barefoot, earlier in the Spring and stay that way far into the Fall.

I would go to more dances. I would ride more merry-go rounds. I would pick more daisies. – Nadine Starr

Guided Beach Visualization for Relaxation (20 minutes)

With guided visualizations, you can participate in two ways: receptive or active. When you are receptive, you listen without creating images in your mind. And when you are active, you create images in your mind and follow the details of the visualization. Pick one that works for you!

I recorded this guided visualization in the present moment. I did not edit it, so it’s not perfect. The music is a little loud sometimes, but I think it’s okay because the music is an important part of the journey. The music is by Jeffrey Thompson (www.scientificsounds.com). The music contains binaural beats – pulses that cause entrainment (like metronome synchronizations). There are several different kinds of brainwaves. The music that I used in this visualization contains alpha waves. Alpha waves promote relaxation and stress reduction. The music sounds different than regular music, and I noticed that I needed to listen to the track a few times before I adjusted to it.

Use headphones or earbuds.