"When we have gone beyond the boundaries of hope and fear, we are able to work with whatever comes our way. Our judgment is exact, according to the situation. Though leaving 'me' behind does not protect us from misfortune, it takes us beyond our concepts to a place where few dare go. This kind of outrageousness brings exuberance in a surprising form — equanimity. Equanimity is a balanced state of mind. With equanimity we can glide evenly through our day, because we no longer get hooked by negative emotion.

"One summer when I was teaching at Shambhala Mountain Center in Colorado, we had an incredible heat wave. In the midst of it, my uncle Damchö Rinpoche, 'Don't you feel hot?' He answered, 'Well, apart from the feeling of heat, I am okay.' I understood him to be saying, 'There's this feeling, and I could be attached to it, or I could not be attached to it. If I were attached to it, then how would my life be? I would be taking off clothes and putting on clothes all day long, spending most of my time trying to get comfortable. Instead, I could just sit here and enjoy what is happening.' So that was what he was doing. People are always saying, 'I'm happy to be here,' but he really meant it. That is equanimity.

Equanimity is the mind's natural joy. It comes from cultivating wisdom and compassion. When we are strong enough to extend our love toward everyone, without bias, we enter the garuda mind. This might happen for only moments at a time, but that's okay. Because I meet with others constantly, I am always watching people struggle with their minds. Do we have to keep things churning in order to feel alive? Having equanimity means we've given it a break. We've relaxed our mind; the brilliance of the Rigden is present and engaged."