One thing for certain in life is that it has both its ups and downs. A myth however is that happiness is based on the quantity of these ups and downs, the more good moments you have rather than bad moments, then the more happy you will be overall.
Life is not about the quantity of ups and downs, but rather how smoothly you ride between these inevitable ups and downs. Good things and bad things happen to everyone, but the most happy are the ones who manage both with ease and equanimity.
Equanimity is a mental state of calmness and stability that can be applied to almost any experience. It is a middle ground perspective between what you normally see as positive or negative. This state of stability comes with the insight that all of reality is ultimately transient.
Everything is subject to change from one moment to the next: thoughts, emotions, habits, goals, or relationships. There is no facet of your existence that is fixed and permanent. Therefore, the good and the bad do not define your life, they are just small fragments of a much larger picture.
Cultivating this big picture view allows you to navigate more easily between the good, the bad, and everything in between. Recognizing the impermanence of your life teaches you not to cling to the good or run from the bad.
It shows you how to appreciate every moment for what it is, because it is there for a reason, and it is not something that is going to last forever.
So the next time you find yourself down, do not be too surprised, because you know that it is a necessary part of life. And do not be too worried about it either, because you know it will eventually change – just like everything else.
And the next time you find yourself up, remind yourself that this high is not going to last forever either. Enjoy it for moment, but do not go chasing it when it is gone, because you know it will eventually change – just like everything else.
Understanding the inevitable ups and downs in your life is a great starting point in building more equanimity and inner peace.