Highest Kind of Happiness

These words of wisdom from Shaila Catherine express the highest kind of happiness – the happiness equanimity.

Shaila Catherine is the founder and guiding teacher of Insight Meditation South Bay and author of Focused and Fearless: A Meditator’s Guide to States of Deep Joy, Calm, and Clarity. What she says about the highest kind of happiness resonates with the teachings of S. N. Goenka.

In all of his talks on vipassana meditation, Goenka talks about cultivating equanimity. See, for example, Vipassana Meditation Day 3, in which Goenka talks about meeting the three conditions of existence with equanimity. The three conditions mentioned in the article are impermanence, non-self, and unsatisfactoriness or suffering.

Highest Kind of Happiness | January 27, 2015

Neither the coarse feeling of unpleasantness nor the agitated feeling of pleasure, equanimity, the Buddha said, is one of the highest kinds of happiness, beyond compare with mere pleasant feelings. Superior to delight and joy, true equanimity remains undisturbed as events change from hot to cold, from bitter to sweet, from easy to difficult. This neutral feeling is so subtle that it can be difficult to discern.

– Shaila Catherine, “Equanimity in Every Bite”

Shaila Catherine

Shaila’s quote is quite in line with what Goenka teaches. He says that grasping for pleasure or avoiding pain both lead to unhappiness and suffering. Being equanimous. He says,

Real wisdom is recognizing and accepting that every experience is impermanent. With this insight you will not be overwhelmed by ups and downs. And when you are able to maintain an inner balance, you can choose to act in ways that will create happiness for you and for others. Living each moment happily with an equanimous mind, you will surely progress toward the ultimate goal of liberation from all suffering.

In my experience of living with bouts of cancer for more than 18 years, cultivating equanimity in my life and in my meditation practice has helped me make the right decisions for my recovery. What have you learned about equanimity?

Books by Shaila Catherine

Focused and Fearless: A Meditator’s Guide to States of Deep Joy, Calm, and Clarity

Shaila Catherine

With this accesssible guide, meditators (and non-meditators) can understand how to attain extraordinary states with relative ease. Blended with contemporary examples and pragmatic “how to” instructions that anyone can try, Focused and Fearless provides a wealth of tools to cultivate non-distr… [Read More…]

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