Cultivating Equanimity & the Eight Worldly Winds - Court Morgan

Cultivating Equanimity & the Eight Worldly Winds – Court Morgan

We’re having the kind of spring in the Northeast that inspires all kinds of woes – as soon I dared to think that I could put my heavy coat away or slip into some favorite Birkenstocks to run to the grocery store, the great, faceless force of The Weather seemed to delight in sending me back into my wool sweaters and beanies for a few more weeks. Tricked again! What happened to those beautifully sunny 65 degree days that we just had?!

This has brought the Lokavipatti Sutta, or teaching of the 8 Worldly Winds, to front of mind. This teaching is basically an outline of four opposing states which exist in our lives: pleasure & pain, gain & loss, praise & blame, fame & disrepute. We all experience these (sometimes all in one day) to a greater or lesser extent. We fall in love, we experience the pain of the relationship falling apart. We get the job we’ve always wanted, the boss is a total nightmare. We are at the top of our game, a year later we feel unacknowledged. The stock market goes up and up and up, then it crashes. You get it. I suspect that the Buddha named these metamorphic states for the wind because while we are certainly subject to the weather we also cannot control it.

We humans are clever in our various strategies to try and avoid feeling the ups and downs of life. We can try to escape by busying ourselves, hoping that we won’t be affected by them. We’ve invented endless streaming services, libraries full of books, social media, drugs, exercises, games, commentaries and endless other ways to dodge the inevitable vicissitudes of life. Often, in our misguided attempts to control the pendulum, we adopt a false sense of security by retreating into our cave, snarling in a defensive crouch against the world and all within it. Our response to difficulty can be denial, fear, confusion, aggression, anger or greed, believing that these will be our protection. It’s us versus them, or sometimes us versus us. This isn’t the peaceful life of love and happiness that we crave! This is mayhem! Something must be done! I have to be better, try harder! Someone must be held accountable! All of the alarm bells insist on the veracity of their message, and we listen as we and all of our kin have been conditioned to do.

Recently, I have been particularly inspired by the current Dalai Lama’s words, “the future depends on the present.” Do I want to train this mind to lash out at others, to assign blame, to deny others their humanity, or do I want to see the best in people? Do I want to live a life of peace or do I want to live a life of fighting and war? Do I want to feed anxiety, restlessness and doubt or do I want to nurture kindness, forgiveness and understanding? The choice is up to each of us alone.

Our practice both gives us the raincoat and trains us to lean into this rough weather. The Buddha’s message is clear: in order to stop suffering (dukkha), we must learn how to relate to our world differently. To paraphrase the venerable Thich Nhat Hahn, in order to have peace in the world, we must learn to value and cultivate peace in ourselves. This cultivation happens mainly via experiential learning, trial and error in the very contained lab of our own immediate experience. We simplify the environment by being still with our eyes closed, and tune the sense doors to feel these shifts in the weather. We learn to respond in ways that cultivate inner spaciousness, resolve, wakefulness, and a resilient, unshakeable core that adapts to the conditions. The degree of our willingness to let go of the idea that the difficult winds are our fault, or anyone’s fault in particular, is the degree to which there can be joy and peace in our lives. We are simply humans having a human experience.

When we let go into this truth, we open to great love, great metta. Drop by drop, we cultivate equanimity, upekkha. We come to know peace, shanti.

May our hearts be free. May all beings everywhere be free.



Under the blanket of the vast Montana sky and in the embrace of the forest, yogis are guided to explore their own practice. This semi-silent retreat, open to both beginners and experienced yogis, will offer a daily schedule of guided movement and meditation practices. Join Court and her partner and fellow yogi, Laura Williamson for The Heart Of Freedom And Ease: A Guided Movement & Meditation Retreat at the Feathered Pipe Ranch, September 21 – 27, 2024.



About Court Morgan:

Court MorganCourt Morgan, E-RYT500, RYCEP (She/They). Court’s unique and skillful teaching style enables students to find a greater depth of understanding and awareness in their practice, both on and off the mat, encouraging the perspective that one’s life is their practice. Her interdisciplinary approach synthesizes the precision of alignment, energetics of classical yoga, Sanskrit, Buddhist studies, anatomy and trauma healing while weaving together poetic metaphor with clear instruction that emphasizes the development of natural awareness, compassion and playfulness.


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