Previously (Applied Spirituality - The Monk and the Entrepreneur) I said that inner peace is achieved when your capacity for equanimity exceeds the level of intensity in your nervous system. For most of us decreasing the level of intensity is not an option - we are trying to do things in the world. So how do we increase our capacity for equanimity?
When something is hard in your business or in your relationship - when you get some bad news, a deal fell through, you’re running out of money, you’re in an argument with your husband or wife - what you’re reacting to are the sensations in your body. They become intense. You want to pop out. You want them to stop. You look for escape. You look for a release.
Anger is one type of release. An explosive purging where the energy tends to move up and out. On the other end of the spectrum is withdrawing and hiding, disassociating with your bodily sensations and absorbing your mind in something else. Or simply shutting off your mind with TV or drugs. These are all forms of popping out.
What you really need to do is learn to be with those sensations. Just be with them. With equanimity. They are just sensations. They don’t mean anything. You have the capacity to be with them, you just haven’t trained that capacity. Once you can be with those sensations without being thrown off balance, without losing grounding and structure, you can then continue to act in accordance with your deepest truth. To pursue the things you want to pursue in the world. Your structure and foundation is solid, the direction you are pointing is solid, the next step is clear, and even though it might feel like wading through molasses sometimes, you can just keep moving in the direction of your deepest truth alignment.
The sensations are just headwinds. Sometimes they might even feel like a punch in the face. Take the punch. Keep doing what your heart’s truth knows you need to do. It’s not about how hard you can punch, but how hard you can be punched and keep going.
You need to practice this skill. It’s nervous system training. You need to build a habit in your body-mind to be with intense sensations, with equanimity, while remaining connected to your heart’s deepest truth, and continue taking one step after another.
Here are some solo exercises you can try (google them): wall sit, horse stance (and other Qi Gong standing meditation poses), cold showers, ego eradicator. Increase the time you spend in one of these practices each day as a measure of your increased nervous system capacity. When you are ready to dial up the challenge there are practices you can do with a partner, too.
Remember to keep breathing. Remember who you are. Remember your truth.