TED Conversations

Pabitra Mukhopadhyay


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Is ‘equianimity’ relevant for an atheist?

Wikipedia describes ‘equanimity’ as promoted by several religion.

Is ‘equianimity’ possible for one who does not have a religious ‘faith’? I find it very interesting that there are two possible extremes of life - one of constant and curious engagement with present in a deeply involved sense of meaning and other of a conscious detachment from everything around without being indifferent to life.
Should ‘equianimity’ be a preferred state of mind for a more meaningful life?


Closing Statement from Pabitra Mukhopadhyay

My conclusion: Equanimity is certainly relevant for atheists.

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    Sep 23 2012: Could be applicable to anyone.

    I'm an atheist and I meditate and practise yoga, but without the mumbo jumbo context some forms of include.
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      Sep 23 2012: Thanks. I am a person without a religion but practice pranic exercise. But then meditation or yoga has nothing to do with religion, I guess.
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        Sep 25 2012: Meditation or yoga may have nothing to do with modern religion. It had everything to do with the roots of religion. It was in the transcended state that mystics presented their ideas of a higher power. I read a book on Mystic Christianity. I also read a book on Yogi philosophy. You'd be surprised how many religious references it had.
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          Sep 26 2012: That's the spiritual part of religion, and has a connection with proto-religious thoughts when Abrahamic religions did not form fully. Interestingly, Hinduism is not a religion is the sense of meaning that is understood in the west, and it had meditation, yoga and pranic exercizes as a science of healthy living to start with - the spiritual underpinnings came much later.
          In ancient Vedic traditions there had been a school of thought that did not acknowledge any God or divinity.
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        Sep 26 2012: Thanks for the reply. I have had spiritual experiences while trying to understand what religion was teaching. I have found myself in a minority that has few outlets for communication in the current age.
        Ancient beliefs had their esoteric wisdom. the Kabalah of Judaism is one. I found explanations for the Hebrew tabernacle in Eastern philosophy but nowhere in the current church system.

        As to the topic, I don't know that everyone can have a equanimity state of mind in the jet age. How do you calm down an adrenalin junkie? These people strive on chaos. Would the world be the same without them?

        If it were not for spiritual experience, I would be an atheist today. Had I chose atheism, I don't believe I would be the same person I am today. Although I have to admit that my views differ considerably from the modern church and are more in tune with what atheists believe. But spiritual experience allows me to integrate science with what Einstein referred to as a cosmic religious feeling.
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          Sep 30 2012: I missed your comment so a belated thanks. It doesn't matter if you are not an atheist as long as you can live in perfect harmony with your environment without the need for dictating moral and ethical standards based on ancient books of dubious authorship. Spirituality is a personal thing, it can help human beings cope with unanswered big questions.
          Don't you think equanimity is even more necessary for an adrenalin junkie for his own good? Fish don't feel they are immersed in water or else how can we believe something as inhuman as eternal damnation (religion) or as absurd as infinite growth (consumerist economy) ?

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