Practicing Equanimity at Winter’s End

It snowed again today when I hoped for signs of spring, and I was all set to get grumpy about it and shift into (madness) complaints after such a long winter but decided instead to take some time to explore my mindset and apply some yoga philosophy to my lifelong habit of arguing with the weather.

This is likely (oh please!) one of the last snows of the year. If it was one of the first snows I would be clapping my hands in delight and posting photos of ‘the most wonderful time of the year’. I love the beginning of winter, but not the end. Which might be something to explore…but for now, I thought it would be interesting to treat today’s snow like something to celebrate rather than lament. It’s a simple shift, but it worked. I had a lovely walk in the snowy streets and was lifted by the change in thinking.

I am interested in how we are so often tossed around in the waves of like and dislike, want and don’t want, attraction and aversion. Yoga speaks to this in the concept of the 5 Kleshas or 5 causes of suffering.

Raga and Dvesha (Attraction and Aversion)

Wanting to control what you cannot control or clinging to what you like and rejecting what you don’t like, these are natural human impulses, but they don’t much lead to a peaceful life. In yoga we call these Raga (attraction), and Dvesha (aversion), and they are two of the five Kleshas which can drain your energy and obstruct your peace of mind.

It takes so much energy to fight against what we can’t control.  These days my own energy is limited so learning to better manage my energy is a priority. I’d like to keep practicing using my energy for things I do have some measure of control over, and just let the weather be the weather.

While I must acknowledge the real impact a long winter has on a person’s chemistry, mood, and wellbeing, I must also admit that I don’t like the fact that I can get so bent out of shape over something so far from my control like weather.

So, while winter and spring do their yearly transitional dance, I am going to keep working with this practice of being with what’s happening now with equanimity. Whatever my preference might be, the weather is going to be the weather, and perhaps with this practice I can get a little better at maintaining equanimity with some of those other circumstances in life that I cannot control.

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