“Better to surf the waves of life than get pounded or swept away.”

In his book Everyday Holiness, Alan Morinis uses a great analogy for equanimity: life is like ocean waves breaking upon the shore. Sometimes a big wave will come along that can carry us out to sea or pound us into the sand. Equanimity teaches us to surf the waves and prevents us from getting swept out to sea or being crushed by waves. The waves of life will always be there; with practice and training we will have the spiritual tools to navigate.


We all have things that push our buttons. For all that I’ve talked about my ups and downs, there are some things that are easy for me (e.g., public speaking) that cause many other people to fret with fear and worry. Strengthening equanimity is about decreasing the number of situations that cause us to lose our equilibrium and reducing the intensity of the disruption.

Your first step in strengthening your equanimity is to understand how your equanimity is activated. As you go through the day, pay attention to the circumstances that push your buttons. Loss of equanimity can happen in many ways that do not involve acting out. You may become distracted by incessant thoughts or worries. As much as possible, try to be granular. For example, “work stress” is a very wide category and will not tell you much about your spiritual curriculum. In contrast, if you notice that you become upset about the timing and scope of work assignments, the underlying issue may be order. Alternatively, if sarcastic comments make you lose your confidence, the underlying issue is humility.

Record your observations in your journal.

Greg Marcus in The Spiritual Practice of Good Actions