One of the multi-year projects I committed to in the past decade was improving my equanimity. I struggled with equanimity in my late teens and early twenties and wrote about my struggles on this blog.
While awareness is a good first step, regular practice is quite another. And, of the many experiments I tried, the one that contributed most to the improvement I’ve made has been internalizing the sine wave of life experiences.
The idea is simple – I visualize life in terms of a series of ups and downs. When I have an up, I gently remind myself that a down is likely around the corner. This reminder injects that touch of paranoia to make sure I’m not getting too carried away.
Similarly, when I experience a down, I remind myself that an up is likely around the corner. This reminder helps inject that touch of optimism that carries me through.
Over the years, I’ve come to think of the sinusoidal nature of this life experience as a fact of life. The gap between an up and a subsequent down may vary – sometimes, we move from one to another in a matter of days and, during other times, it may be a matter of months.
But, the pattern of ups and downs remains. And, understanding and internalizing that pattern changes our experience of those ups and downs in a wonderful way.