Now that you are becoming familiar with Mussar and your spiritual curriculum, you are ready to take on the Soul Trait of Equanimity.
I teach Equanimity later than many other Mussar teachers. Equanimity is the Soul Trait that governs whether you stay calm or lose your head. Equanimity is often confused with inner peace. Many of us live such stressful lives that Equanimity is indeed more peaceful than our baseline. However, Equanimity is not tranquility. When I left the corporate world, I achieved lower stress by avoiding stressful situations. Equanimity is the ability to remain in the stressful situations while retaining the ability to make calm, mindful decisions.
The goal of the soul trait Equanimity is to remain in the present moment and not to let your emotions get the better of you.
Too Little Equanimity: We are hysterical, reactive and get too high and too low.
Too Much Equanimity: We become ambivalent or oblivious to the rest of the world.
American Mussar practice has three parts: a morning mantra, daily actions, and journaling. If you haven’t done so already, watch the video above.
The key to practicing equanimity is radical acceptance of what is. As you have learned your spiritual curriculum, I’m sure that you’ve encountered soul traits that cause you to resist what is. Working on those other soul traits will help you balance equanimity.
Write the following mantra on an index card, and place it by your bedside
Surf the wave, do not get crushed by it or swept away.
In his book, Everyday Holiness, Alan Morinis uses a great analogy for Equanimity. Life is like ocean waves breaking upon the shore.. We can rise up and down with the waves, or let them sweep us away. Equanimity is about remaining present, to learn how to surf the waves. Getting too excited or too despondent leads to a loss of control. We want to be a watcher, i.e. one who can step back and observe our own reactions.
 Morinis, Everyday Holiness, 100.
In the morning, recite the phrase out loud several times and contemplate the meaning. This will frame your thoughts for the day. Pay attention to times when your Equanimity Soul Trait comes into play.
If you tend towards too little Equanimity practice meditation. Add five more minutes to your normal practice. Get used to observing your thoughts and letting them go from your mind.
If you tend towards too much Equanimity, focus on practicing Enthusiasm. Find ways to take action to become more engaged with the world.
You don’t need to do anything dramatic – just take a small step outside of your comfort zone.
Write about your experiences at night in your Mussar Journal.
If you are not into journaling, just take a few notes in your phone, or record yourself a voice memo. The key is to contemplate the action in a non-judgmental way to help enable small gradual change in the soul.