Application - that is what 'Workings-days' are about!
We have seen determination, forgiveness, patience and forbearance as positive traits with which to overcome negative characteristics. Let us continue our theme.
सामत्वं /SAAMATWAM; EQUANIMITY.
This is balance of mind or temperament. Whether in pleasure or pain, success or failure, honour or dishonour, censure or praise.
In an equanimous state our spirit is composed, we are calm, steady and alert no matter how trying the circumstances. This is the state which, in saadhana chatushtaya, is called vairagya. The one endowed with this has poise at all times in all conditions. The fullness of this condition is much desirable. Even a little bit of it however, will bring such peace and relief into life.
In this world of pairs and opposites, we are tossed about in all directions by our emotional responses. One minute high, the next low. Counter this with the cultivation of vairagya; understand that likes and dislikes are attached to the ego state and can be managed, as if naughty children! This does not mean (as it has sometimes - and erroneously - been taken) that all joy must be removed from life. Not at all! Indeed, joy can be magnified for the knowing of what is real and what is not, as well as being in charge of how we choose to react to what life presents us. An aid to disciplining the senses and the mind is to hold onto an ideal. In the case of vedanta, the ideal is Brahman, the ultimate soul condition of conscious bliss.
This if, of course, not a 'quick fix'; it is a daily vigilance of ourselves and our interactions. It is a daily focus on the higher, keeping always that Brahman in mind and knowing it for being present in everyone and everything. The more we practice the eradication of overpowering desires, attachments and excessive likes and dislikes; the more we cultivate viveka, vairagya and utilise the shamaadhi-shatka-sampatti, the more established will become our equanimity.
A word that has been used throughout is COMPASSION. This is a quality of sympathy. It is an understanding and sorrow for the sufferings of others. It melts hardened hearts.
Compassion does not wallow in another's pains and does the weeping for them. It may weep, but the tears of compassion are for the damage to the whole of mankind by the one trouble before us. It seeks to share that trouble in order to bring some relief. From compassion arises CHARITY. All too often we are unable to physically help, therefore we must give support to those who can. We must do this to the maximum of our ability. The whole world is one family, the entire globe is our abode. Open your heart to compassion and share what you have with others.
The cry goes up 'charity begins at home'. Certainly, if there is need on your doorstep, it must first be met. This does not mean that one should close the doors and windows on the wider sufferings. All too often, also, fear of poverty prevents giving. Or fear of loss of status. Money will be spent on fine clothes, food, homes, yet scarcely an penny or dollar is dropped in the tins of the truly needy.
Yes, in the modern world, charity has become big business. Sometimes as much harm is done as good. Does this mean we must become cynical and angry and all those negative things again? Open your hearts to compassion. Let everything you can spare show that you care.
In the multiple range of charities, chose three to five that are 'yours'; give regularly to them and without any catch of selfishness in your heart. Small and regular has greater benefit than one flashy donation. Do not brag or make show of giving. Then surprise yourself by spontaneously giving to the man in the street, the small local fund-raiser or by volunteering your time for a special purpose event. Do not think, 'oh that man is a drunkard or wastral'.. Whether or not that is his lot, judge him not, for there but for the grace of God… have compassion, have charity and know that, however it is spent, you brought some small relief.
Compassion is strength and joy and aids the change within you which prepares for ever greater happiness.