Message Boards Message Boards

Physical Practices

Cold Showers ~ Equanimity

Toggle
Cold Showers ~ Equanimity
Answer
6/29/20 5:38 AM
Shinzen speaks of equanimity at the cellular level....

Knowing nothing of cold showers I heard about it twice in a day, researched it, and undertook it as a practice without interruption. I take a normal hot shower for the first majority of the shower, then in the final stage slam the faucet to cold. Allowing the water to turn cold away from my body I then rinse my left leg, then right leg, right arm, left arm, chest, and lastly back in the cold. Then wash all of my body with soap and rinse again. I do this for every single shower I take and I think that dedication is an essential part of it all. Never flinch from or delay the cold. Allow it without resistance while breathing or anything you like. Over a short time you develop surface equanimity by not visibly reacting to the cold in any way but, more importantly, that equanimity sinks deeper into you. Non-reaction begins to seep deep into your bones, and your being. 

This is clearly but one approach to this end: training equanimity down to the cellular level. Physical practices are effective for this, flowing from the outside in. I am also becoming a practitioner of Yang tai chi under the tutelage of a great teacher. What an incredibly powerful, beautiful and fulfilling practice. Also much mindful walking, snowboarding, biking, frisbee, hiking, rafting, dancing. Along of course with an endless absorption of dharma...and stronger and stronger practices of Sila and Dana. It all matters, it all counts.

Just thought you guys should know about cold showers! emoticonemoticon

All the best, 
Alex

RE: Cold Showers ~ Equanimity
Answer
6/29/20 7:54 AM as a reply to Alexandra.
I mentioned it in my practice log
This morning I read this in "The Science of Enlightenment" by Shinzen Young:

"You have to go to a cistern filled with half-frozen water, break the ice on top, fill a huge wooden bucket, and then squat and dump the bone-chilling liquid over your naked body.
...
For me, this cold-water purification was a horrific ordeal.
...
I did notice, however, that if I stayed in a state of high concentration while I did it, my distress was noticeably lessened. On the other hand, as soon as my attention wandered, the suffering became unberable. I could see that this whole training situation was a giant biofeedback device designed to keep a person in some degree of samadhi at all times."


In school and summer camp when I was a child, whenever we went swimming in a pool we had to take cold showers, but it wasn't ice cold.

If you want the full experience I think you have to use ice cold water.

RE: Cold Showers ~ Equanimity
Answer
6/29/20 12:03 PM as a reply to Alexandra.
Have you heard of the Wim Hof Method? Pretty interesting stuff. https://www.wimhofmethod.com/cold-therapy

RE: Cold Showers ~ Equanimity
Answer
6/29/20 5:09 PM as a reply to Alexandra.
Good stuff, I love a nice cold shower. I sometimes will stand or kneel for a few minutes under cold water and meditate, tuning into the vibratory and textural quality of "cold" and "wet". From this perspective, it's easier to disembed from the emotional and physical reaction to the change in temperature. 

I feel like this builds strength and resilience for one's energetic boundaries, which is valuable for those of us who have a tendency to dissolve into social situations and other people's strong personalities.

RE: Cold Showers ~ Equanimity
Answer
6/30/20 3:01 AM as a reply to Jim Smith.
Jim Smith:
I mentioned it in my practice log
This morning I read this in "The Science of Enlightenment" by Shinzen Young:

"You have to go to a cistern filled with half-frozen water, break the ice on top, fill a huge wooden bucket, and then squat and dump the bone-chilling liquid over your naked body.
...
For me, this cold-water purification was a horrific ordeal.
...
I did notice, however, that if I stayed in a state of high concentration while I did it, my distress was noticeably lessened. On the other hand, as soon as my attention wandered, the suffering became unberable. I could see that this whole training situation was a giant biofeedback device designed to keep a person in some degree of samadhi at all times."


In school and summer camp when I was a child, whenever we went swimming in a pool we had to take cold showers, but it wasn't ice cold.

If you want the full experience I think you have to use ice cold water.

I find that everyday life gives me enough unpeasant experiences to work with but I can see how if someone lived in seclusion, in a monastery, protected from worldly life, how they might need to create unpleasant situations to work with. 

In my own case I'm not sure if a cold shower (neat, without ice) would help me that much. I mentioned that I am familiar with them from childhood at the swimming pool. Also if we weren't going swimming in a pool we would go in the ocean. Where I live the ocean is cold all year round. I've been to Florida in the winter and enjoyed swimming when the natives thought I was crazy for going in the ocean. One time someone walked by as I was coming out of the water and asked me where I was from.

RE: Cold Showers ~ Equanimity
Answer
7/12/20 4:36 PM as a reply to Jim Smith.
Depending on your location - another challenge to equanimity could be turning off the air conditioning.

It would be good for the environment, reduce noise pollution, and save money too.

RE: Cold Showers ~ Equanimity
Answer
7/12/20 4:50 PM as a reply to Alexandra.
I don't react to water that way, Sometimes when I get an itch in my body somewhere I lay down on my bed very still with all the covers off. This rewires my brain and is a form at this point in time I consider an austerity. Don't have to look farther than that, unless I feel compelled.