Equanimity: A Heart That is Ready for Anything (Duck Meditation)

Equanimity: A Heart That is Ready for Anything (Duck Meditation)

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Equanimity is the quality of presence that is open, balanced and non-reactive. As this talk explores, when equanimity is lacking, we become easily lost in trance, identified as a defended and controlling egoic self. When present, the solidity and constriction of egoic self dissolves, and our heart is free to respond to life with love, compassion, forgiveness and joy. Note: this talk is a favorite from the 2014 archives and includes the “Duck Meditation” and bricklayer stories.

Tara will continue with part 2 of the Forgiveness series next week.

Now we are ready to look at something pretty special.
It is a duck riding the ocean a hundred feet beyond the surf.
No, it isn’t a gull.
A gull always has a raucous touch about him.
This is some sort of duck, and he cuddles in the swells.
He isn’t cold, and he is thinking things over.
There is a big heaving in the Atlantic,
And he is part of it.
He looks a bit like a mandarin, or the Lord Buddha meditating under the Bo tree.
But he has hardly enough above the eyes to be a philosopher.
He has poise, however, which is what philosophers must have.
He can rest while the Atlantic heaves, because he rests in the Atlantic.
Probably he doesn’t know how large the ocean is.
And neither do you.
But he realizes it.
And what does he do, I ask you. He sits down in it.
He reposes in the immediate as if it were infinity—which it is.
That is religion, and the duck has it.
He has made himself a part of the boundless, by easing himself into it just where it
touches him.

“The Little Duck,” by Donald C. Babcock
~ published in The New Yorker on October 4, 1947


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