I manage two meditation classes on Sundays, at a yoga studio in the heart of Tacoma’s bar scene. One class flies under the Dharma Punx banner and the other was built to accommodate yogis who were looking for more formal mediation without the swearing and irreverence that sometimes comes with the Dharma Punx.
Walking to class on Sunday morning is never dull, cigarette butts, vomit, and high heels that didn’t last through the night are all scattered along the street. I live in this neighborhood, and so I get to hear everyone coming in excited and going home drunk and disorderly. By the next morning, it is dead quiet, except for the pouring of coffee, and the moans of those waiting for pancakes. The little grocery store is selling hair of the dog and pepto bismol to those who have walked back to pick up their cars.
It is a strange reality on Sunday morning, trying to focus my thoughts on Equanimity in what feels like the skeleton of a hundred bad dates. Equanimity translates to something like the sublime understanding and acceptance that things are as they should be. In my limited study it is the closest thing to faith in the Theravada Buddhist tradition. It follows teachings on loving kindness, compassion, and sympathetic joy reminding us that we are not responsible for the actions of others, but asking us to have faith that the realities of impermanence and karma keeps things in check.
Living next to endless bar fights, occasional gun shots, and regular car theft, it is hard to have faith in the idea that everything is as it should be. Commonly I find myself hoping that whatever crimes are happening around me, I am spared the burden of knowledge, praying for ignorance if peace is not on the cards. But Equanimity does not suggest that justice will prevail and crime will disappear. Equanimity only suggests that for every drunken Saturday night, there will be a Sunday morning.