Week 5: Resilience and Expanding the Window of Tolerance

Well done so far everyone! We’re already into the second month our time together.

Last month we shared many of the foundations of practice. At this point you should feel confident in knowing how to meditate by yourself and have a solid understanding of how and why the various practices work. If this isn’t the case then please ask any questions that can help clarify.

This month we shift focus towards the topic of resilience. This is a powerful aspect of what we are training here, because ultimately there is no denying that life is pretty damn difficult sometimes. And often not for reasons we can control. So we can train ourselves to be better able to cope in challenging, even disastrous, situations with grace, composure and even compassion.

What is resilience?

Resilience is that property of a system that allows it to recover (and grow!) from challenging situations or destabilising events. For us that means being able to remain calm and collected in the face of difficulty. Maintaining the ability to act deliberately and consciously, not being overwhelmed by fear, stress or panic.

From a neuroscience perspective, being resilient means being able to say within our ‘window of tolerance’. We are within that window when there is an optimal balance between our sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems. How do we do this?

We have two options. We can engage strategies to come back into the window or we can work to expand our window.

This week we focus on the second strategy by training ‘equanimity’, this ability to be ok with more. See below for a summary and a guided meditation on equanimity. Enjoy!