It's hot here right now in the Northwest. We are under a 'heat advisory' and it is forecast to get up to 103°F (39°C). It's really quiet outside, nobody really wants to be out in this.
Now if you are reading this in Phoenix you are probably laughing right now as you look at your forecast of 115°F (46°C), but trust me, this is hot for us.
The reality is that living where we live we experience a wide range of weather. That's what life in the Northwest is like. It gets hot in the summer (and is getting hotter overall) and cold in the winter. But the weather is what it is. If we complain or grouse about it we do nothing but make ourselves more miserable. The weather doesn't listen to us.
We all have preferences when it comes to weather. Personally I prefer cool sunny spring days (and this area is beautiful when it is like that). But expecting the weather to be like that all the time is not only foolish but short sighted. If we didn't have the extensive rain then this place wouldn't be as beautiful as it is.
Of course we all know this, but it is still an important lesson for us. In every aspect of our lives we need to move beyond preference, and accept that sometimes there are things that we can't change, that are just how the world is. As the Serenity Prayer says:
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.
As we move beyond preference we begin to cultivate equanimity. Andrew Olendzki says in his wonderful article "The Mindfulness Wedge":
The mind is habitually caught up in some very deep reflexes of craving and aversion. Wanting what pleases us and wanting to do away with what causes us distress is part of a primordial operating system that has served all creatures on this earth quite well for aeons. Buddhism is pointing to an evolutionary step requiring us to abandon this reflex and replace it with a more mature mental state: equanimity. Classical mindfulness, unlike popular mindfulness, is all about the cultivation of equanimity. One is able to experience both pleasure and pain without clinging to anything in the world. One can be aware of what is gratifying and distressing, and still abide independent, not needing things to be other than they are.This is the secret to 'staying cool' - 'not needing things to be other than they are.' This is equanimity.
I have linked below a fully guided audio meditation on equanimity and 'staying cool.' A few of us have committed to pressing 'play' together at 7pm PT on Sunday August 16th. You are welcome to join us if you wish, or of course you can listen on your own at any time.
May you all be well and 'cool' in these times,
If the above link doesn't work for you please click here.