Published in the World Book of Values, 2013.
Serenity comes from within. It is not a surface calm or a superficial peace – it is the harmony of the soul.
“We have forgotten what rocks and plants still know – we have forgotten how to be – to be still – to be ourselves – to be where life is here and now”. Eckhart Tolle.
When we look up the definition of serenity, it simply states that it is a disposition free from stress or emotion, a condition of peace and quiet. Serenity is more than that though. What is described in the definition is often fleeting, temporary. We need to seek a lasting state of mind, not a transient moment in time when we are serene.
Serenity comes from acceptance of ourselves and our place in the world. We need to be still, to silence the noise from within before we can truly learn. It allows us to focus on what is really important, what we want to expend our energy on. It is emotion in balance, having power over ourselves so that we don’t simply react to externalities but rather act from a place of surety.
The word conjures silent contemplation and quietness but that is not the case – serenity is not what we show on the outside. A pool of water that is calm on the surface hides incredible movement within and the surface calm is rarely maintained for long. However, when the mind and soul are at peace, serenity is possible – the calmness is core-deep and brings a lasting focus and drive.
Serenity is the silence underneath the noise, the order beneath the chaos. As with the eye of the storm, it is relatively calm in the centre. The eye moves with the storm but if we stay in one place, the storm will once again crash over us. Serenity is moving forward, becoming a part of the storm, remaining calm and centred, not allowing the chaos and problems to wash over you and take you off course. Serenity is not stagnation or steadfastness. It is movement and passion, with focus.
For me, serenity doesn’t actually come from sitting still and meditating. For me, serenity is found on horseback, riding through the natural beauty of my country and just being… no obligations, no fences, no goals – just doing something for the pure pleasure of it, forgetting about the world and worries of every day. It helps centre me and reminds me of what is important to me. That is how I find my serenity.
Eckhart Tolle also said “It is the stillness that will save and transform the world.”
When we are driven by fear, anger or desire, we tend to act without thinking. We undermine our goals, damage our relationships and even betray our deepest values. Serenity helps keep our emotions in balance – we are not ruled by them or the external storms we cannot control. Serenity is our anchoring value, keeping us fixed on our destination.