Energy is certainly one of the foremost qualities of personal and planetary sustainability. When you become ill, your energy is, of course, greatly depleted, so, how do you get through and keep working when you feel bad and have little fuel for the road? How do you sustain when you are sick?
I discovered long ago, when I was struck with hepatitis in Nepal, there is a way of recycling and regenerating energy. After a month in a Buddhist monastery, I walked out with no symptoms of the disease and never took any form of medication to get well except meditation.
Just this past week, working here in Tokyo, I contracted some kind of wicked flu. Feverish and aching all over, I had one day off to get my energy back and work straight through for the next week. So, I lay around and sat around in a meditative state of consciousness, which was to move my attention to all the sensations I was feeling throughout my body. Called Vipassana in classic Buddhist terms, the key concept and quality to maintain in this meditation is “equanimity.” This means to be aware and accept whatever you are feeling, thinking, sensing. It calls for optimum sensitivity without judgment. In so doing, you allow the body to work out its purifying work and your neutral equanimous attention also introduces energy to the body. It’s not a quick fix. Just keep going over and over your body and let the process work its eventual magic. By the next morning as I had to get ready for work again, I was okay, I was good enough, and so energetic that nobody had any clue that a few mere hours before, I was out of it. It was like a miracle! The meditation simply allows the body do what it does best, fight off the bad guys.
From those hepatitis days, I became so impressed with the power of meditative equanimity that I included this quality as one of my cards in the Voyager Tarot deck. It was positioned as an aspect of the wise woman “Priestess” card, the meditator. Through an equanimous mind, this archetype has the peace and balance of mind to see the truth with clarity and without personal projection.
Years after I made the cards, equanimity once more came to my rescue. I was stuck in an elevator on the way to teaching Voyager while in Germany. Prone to claustrophobia, I began to sweat some panic. My German publisher asked me if there was Voyager card that could help me. Immediately, I began visualizing the Equanimity card, and all of a sudden, I chilled out and went into a kind of meditative state. An hour later, we were saved.
This rather innocuous looking card has had such history and meaning for me that I just had to celebrate its power when it came up in the class I was teaching in Tokyo. In this photo, you see me bringing attention to this little-known quality. Many cannot spell it nor have any understanding of its meaning. I hope now you will consider equanimity as one of your greatest friends and allies. And learn how to meditate. It just might save your life, or at least, sustain you on.