ZHUANGZI • Equanimity

Chinese Philosopher | c. 369–298 BC  | Zhuangzi’s writings are considered among the greatest eastern philosophical pieces.

In stillness, the Sage and the Yin share a single virtue; in motion, the Sage and the Yang share a single flow. The Sage’s single mind reposed, ten thousand things submit. Thus, if you understand this heavenly joy, you shall incur no wrath from Heaven and no opposition from people, no entanglement from things, no blame from the spirits.

Equanimity is defined as an “evenness of mind, especially under stress.”  To be equanimous is to be undeterred and composed; unmovable when everything around you seems to be moving; to be grounded when everything else seems chaotic.  

In the writings of Zhuangzi, we are taught that equanimity comes through embracing singularity and oneness.  Seeing through variations and realizing that you can still be the constant denominator.  An equanimous person is able to engage with a problem, but not get entangled with a problem. 

The Sage is described by Zhuangzi as “not the bearer of good fortune or the initiator of bad fortune.”  In other words, do not be the first mover.  Do not act from the edges of life’s spectrum.  Indeed, we live in a world that tells us, “if you’re not first, then you’re last.”  But the equanimous person sees through the extremes and becomes an emotional anchor.  Notice that Zhuangzi uses the word “share” when identifying with different polarizing circumstances— meaning that you can still be a sage in the Yin, and you can still be a sage in the Yang.