A positive path for spiritual living

11-15-20 Talk Notes: Exquisite Balance (Rev. Mark Schindler)

“HOW DO WE NAVIGATE THE overall unruliness of life, so filled as it is with urgencies—tasks left undone, friends who need help, health problems, financial pressures, family crises, community crises, world crises? How do we sustain ourselves, our sanity, our open hearts and clear vision in the face of these ongoing challenges? In Buddhist psychology, the answer is equanimity.” Real Change (p. 193).


“Whether we’re drowning in these painful emotions or pushing them away, it’s still putting pain on top of pain.” Real Change (pp. 195-196).


Equanimity Is Like a Gyroscope:



“As we navigate through circumstances, we can learn to be more agile and responsive instead of reactive. The balance of a gyroscope comes from its strong core—its central, stable energy.” Real Change (p. 197).


“This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; the being a force of nature instead of a feverish, selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.” George Bernard Shaw


Discovering Your Mission and Purpose:


  • What are my strengths?
    • What are the things that I’m really good at?
    • What are the things that other people tell me I’m good at?
    • Write about 3 times in your life when you were most proud of something you had accomplished.


  • If I knew that I couldn’t fail, what would my life look like in 5 years?
    • What will I have accomplished?
    • How will the world be different because of that?


  • What is just one small thing that I can do today to advance that mission in the world?
    • What can you do this week, this month, this year?
    • Write it down and read it again in a year to see what has changed in you, in your life and in the lives of others


“In Buddhist teaching, the immediate result of an action is only a part of its value. There are two other significant aspects: the intention giving rise to an action and the skillfulness with which we perform it.” Real Change (p. 211).


“Doing your best is taking action because you love it, not because you’re expecting a reward. Most people do exactly the opposite: They only take action when they expect a reward, and they don’t enjoy the action. And that’s the reason why they don’t do their best.” The Four Agreements


“I used to look back at people in the civil rights movement in the United States, or the women’s suffrage movement, or the labor movement, and think, Wow, isn’t it amazing? They were so brave, they went out, and did these incredibly courageous things and risked being stigmatized, or getting beaten up. Or killed. But they knew it’s what they had to do to win. And then I realized one day, They didn’t know they were going to win. That’s the arrogance of history. We look back and think, Of course, this is what they had to do. They knew this is what they had to do to get this done. But they didn’t know they were going to get it done, because in fact, we don’t know. In the moment, we’re always entering that unknown.” Real Change (pp. 214-215).