Excitation is not what we think it is. We think it’s a good thing, but that’s not quite right.
Paying close attention to the experience shows the ordinary mind getting yanked hard in the direction of the object of excitement. It might seem as if it’s a delightful experience to think about this idea, but have you noticed that you can’t seem to stop? That you’re roped in? That it keeps coming back, yanking, pulling, dragging? It’s forceful! And dogged! And fierce!
And what has happened to equanimity? Gone! Completely gone!
Learning of excitation (auddhatya), you might begin coming back to the breath or to the koan. But man is it strong! Keeps yanking. Again and again and again. It is like a pit bull–powerful and sinewy–wanting to bolt after something it sees in the distance.
Does it feel futile now? Maybe, but
It needn’t. Can you, like an old man removing an old coat from an old hook, unhook the fixation deliberately, gently, almost gingerly? Can you unhook the fixation and walk out into the cold Wisconsin evening not long before sunset?
Without even thinking of bracing yourself, you’d find peace where it has always been: in a frozen pond and still, leafless trees and a faint path that leads you back home.