Of the three aspects of the path- good conduct, meditation, wisdom- it is sila, or conduct, which is primary, and sila which gets the least attention. How the practice of precepts and restraint goes beyond moralism and self-righteousness to be a powerful ground for the path to freedom.
Equanimity as a factor of enlightenment is not totally neutral, but brings a sense of peace and healthiness. It a mind-state that does not get caught up in any experience, whether good or bad.
Thannissaro Bikkhu mentions "scepticism" as a useful tool toward equanimity. Not hot, doubtful scepticism, but not believing every thought that arises. Relating to them "with a question mark".
Taking an interest in the breath is taking an interest in the present moment. Being on good terms with the breath is being on good terms with yourself and therefore with the whole world.
Life is shaped by the friends we choose. Meditation, in allowing us to be comfortable with ourselves, give us great strength to choose our friends and our way in the world.
Secure in solitude.
Everything that happens in the mind is part of a causal chain. Meditation is the simple practice of watching the activity of the mind honestly and witnessing their results. Skillfulness is choosing to cultivate what brings benefit and letting go of what increases suffering. Simple common sense. And though tedious on the surface, much less tedious and much less painful that not training the mind.
"A Sangha is a community of resistance, resisting the speed, violence and unwholesome ways of living that are prevalent in our society. Mindfulness is to protect ourselves and others. A good Sangha will lead us in the direction of harmony and awareness. The substance of the practice is most important. The forms can be adapted." ~ Thich Nhat Hahn