We often find ourselves suspended between a sense that everything is dire and at the same time nothing matters. We worry about potential problems and alternately feel as if we are too insignificant to make a difference in the world. With such a combination, we end up stuck and immobilized. There is much to worry about. The environment needs attention; the economy needs attention; our own health needs attention; our relationships need attention. We should do more, be more, give more. It can become overwhelming.
What we need instead is a balance between Appamada and equanimity. There is a wonderful zen center in Austin, Tx, called Appamada, which is what brought this word to my attention. There you can read in more detail about it. Appamada was the Buddha’s last word, and by it he meant, care. Take care. Act out of care. Be caring. By caring we engage with life and with the people around us. We care about small things and large things. We take care of what we can take care of. We just care about things and people. We wake up to the fact that everything matters.
At the same time, the difficulties and obstacles in the world take time to overcome. We may not be able to affect everything we would like to affect, but our efforts matter. We can learn to do our best and be accepting of the limits we encounter. We can learn not to take things personally while at the same time remaining personally engaged. This is equanimity. Instead of worry and hopelessness, we can move toward caring and equanimity. It is a different kind of balance.