Equanimity: The Ally of Compassion, Gateway to Wisdom

Have any of you noticed how we are buffeted by the demands of our cellphone, social media, and the diffuse pressure to spend and seek pleasure every waking moment, while simultaneously being exposed to overwhelming external and internal suffering?

There is a mind state that can be cultivated that encourages and grows emotional and spiritual balance in the face of this onslaught. This state is one that leads to internal and external harmony and is necessary for insight and ultimately wisdom to emerge. And, it's available to us in every moment. This mind/heart state is equanimity, the process of not-knowing while deeply embracing every moment without preference. Does this sound impossible? Not if we allow our bodies to open to this, at times, paradoxical practice. The goal of this workshop is to encourage embodied practices that will internalize the many immediate and long-term rewards of equanimity, the perfect antidote to an unbalanced world.

We explore the ancient practice of tonglen, translated as taking/giving, to prime our readiness to relieve suffering in ourselves and others. We will take in suffering, transform it with our own natural goodness, and give out emergent, compassionate responsiveness in return. The day will consist of this practice while we chant, move mindfully, sit, and share our subjective process with other participants. Come share a precious day practicing this energizing, potentially ecstatic, practice.

Rick's daylong is part of a series of 4 activities in March and April offering a "dive deep" into the Brahmavihāras

Rick Avery: After years of struggling with an unrelenting inner critic, I discovered loving-kindness/compassion practice, including tonglen. These practices helped me to understand that it was not so much about silencing the ruthless judge within, but of developing my natural, but neglected, heart-opening instincts, especially when it came to myself.

I have been meditating regularly since 1984. I have also learned a lot about compassion from my clients in my psychotherapy practice and from the students I have taught meditation to over the last 45 years. In addition, I supervise and consult with mental health trainees in my role as an Assistant Clinical Professor, Department of Psychiatry, UCSD School of Medicine. I am also a certified Compassion Cultivation Trainer (CCT) through Stanford University.

Date & Time:

April 27, 2019, 9:00 am - 4:00 pm (Sign-in starts at 8:30 am)


First Unitarian Universalist Church, San Diego, CA. 

What to Expect and Items to Bring:


Bring your own zafu and zabuton if preferred - there will be chairs and several zafus and zabutons available. Bring your lunch and water (hospital cafeteria nearby; the walk to restaurants can take too long).

Registration Info:

Registration is required for this event. The class cost is $30.00. No one turned away for inability to pay; scholarship funds are available should finances be an obstacle to attending. Additional information can be found on the scholarships page.

Parking is validated. We encourage carpooling.

Additional Info:

For questions contact Alby at alby@insightsd.org

The four Brahmavihāras, also known as the Four Immeasurables, are a series of virtues and Buddhist meditation practices designed to cultivate those virtues. The Brahmavihāras are:

  • loving-kindness or benevolence (metta)
  • compassion (karuna)
  • empathetic joy (mudita)
  • equanimity (upekkha)

Join Insight San Diego as we explore the Brahmavihāras. Everyone is welcome. Attend any or all parts of this series:

  1. March 5 - April 23, 2019. Compassion Cultivation Training offered by Richard Avery. 8 Tuesday evenings
  2. March 22, 2019. Dharma talk by John Martin
  3. March 23, 2019. Heart of Awareness - A Day of Mindfulness Meditation with John Martin. This Insight Meditation Daylong will emphasize the cultivation of the beautiful heart qualities of Loving Kindness and Compassion that are key supports in the practice.
  4. April 27, 2019. Daylong: Equanimity as a Support for Compassion by Richard Avery