The Just Like Me Game
Equanimity is an even-minded and even-hearted response to what we encounter. And sometimes that “what” is a “who”. In other words, we don’t just seek to relate with balance to all of the events in our lives, but also to all of the people in our lives. We may notice that it feels easier to aspire to an even-mindedness toward events than toward people. We can see the value of meeting a root canal with the same groundedness as we would a phone call from a good friend. We intuitively understand that poise during a moment of challenge can help us respond wisely, and keep our nervous system from getting overwhelmed.
When we contemplate treating all people with even-heartedness, though, we may feel resistance. Our protective shields may go up. “Am I really supposed to value someone who causes me grief as much as I value a loved one?” But when we consider the possibility that all humans have the same basic needs, and that every action can be viewed as an attempt to meet a need, we begin to chip away at those shields. We can consider that this person, just like me, has needs. We can start to wonder what unmet need may be driving the behavior that we don’t like. We may not like how the person goes about trying to have their needs met, but we can separate behavior from person and see our shared humanity. When we do this, we may feel a slight opening in our hearts, a relaxing, and that softening may feel like a tonic to our nervous system. When this happens, we may realize that we’re not “supposed” to value all beings equally. Instead, we may find that we want to see the value of all beings as equal because it feels right and good and our own lives are enriched by it.
Equanimity is an aspiration, and a lofty one at that, but we can keep nudging ourselves in the direction of equanimity if we try. We can set Equanimity as our destination with the knowledge that it may take us a while to get there and there may be bumps along the way.
One way to help us find the route and stick to it, is to play the Just Like Me game. As we walk through the supermarket, or stand at the train platform, or sit in class, we can look at those around us one at a time and say to ourselves, “This person, just like me, wants to be happy. This person, just like me, wants to feel safe. This person, just like me, wants to feel loved, cared for and supported.” And then we can offer a silent wish for their well-being, perhaps a simple, “May you be well."
We hope you will join us this week as we rest in the felt sense of our shared humanity.
May all beings, everywhere, without exception, feel valued,
Your friends at CMP
*For a list of human needs, see page 115 of Oren Sofer’s wonderful new book, Say What You Mean.
Community Sessions this Week:
PLEASE NOTE, DUE TO THE HOLIDAY, THERE ARE NO MONDAY SESSIONS AT TRUMBULL LIBRARY.
Monday 7:30 PM Sama Yoga, 45 Grove Stree,t New Canaan
Tuesday 1:00 PM Ferguson Library, 1 Public Library Plaza, Stamford
Wednesday 12:00 PM New Canaan Library 151 Main Street, New Canaan