Life is simply a series of experiences, most of which seem beyond our control or planning. There is no judgment inherent in these actual experiences; the judgment lies in our interpretation of what is happening. We can react to our experiences as either something bad (a challenge) or good (an opportunity), and this interpretation can lead us to either sorrow or happiness. As we go through our daily lives, we tend to attach ourselves to our reactions to the experiences, and these imagined dramas become our reality.
A key concept in many of the major religions of the world is equanimity. Equanimity is an evenness of mind, a state of mental stability or composure that endures through all possible changes in the present moment. It is neither a thought nor an emotion, more a consciousness of the transience of what we perceive as reality.
An attitude of equanimity can help us to detach from the emotion of what we see as a bad or challenging situation with grace. The saying “It is what it is” may seem flippant, but think about that. Things are only what they are: YOU create the response and judgment. Next time something ‘challenging’ happens in your life, take a deep breath, feel the oxygen, prana/life-force surge back into your body filling you with serenity, and release the attachment to the emotional response. The breath helps calm the physical body and leads to balance in our emotional body.
In a major Yogic text, The Yoga Sutras, equanimity is one of ‘four sublime attitudes’ along with loving-kindness, compassion, and joy, and can be realized through meditation.