More recently the quest for meaning in this journey called life must take the centre stage of our attention. The ultimate objective of this article is promoting a vital approach to serenity within our lives. An ability to find meaning, even within our sufferings, tends to give grace and understanding, even for unpleasant situations when encountered.
In wondering who wrote the serenity prayer, it was found that this masterpiece of 25 words describes a healthy disposition that persons can adopt by minimising personal control and at the same time absorbing the benefits of mental health peace and acceptance.
The serenity prayer: “God grant me to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.”
These words are saturated with meaning and psychological validation for wisdom and serenity. It suggests a powerful way of identifying subjectively what is within an individual’s control and what is out of their control.
We can pull apart the serenity prayer and realise how to attain the rhythm of its process. First, “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change…” is loaded with meanings of the acknowledgement of a powerful source outside of oneself.
Many conflicts and wars and death have occurred throughout the centuries because of differing dogmas and concepts of the word God. Let’s consider beyond the word or a concept and identify that relatable connection and meaning that is individual for us. That powerful internal meaning that gives the energy and spirit for life.
No one must necessarily say “do this or do that” but each person is guided by their internal conscience and principles. Serenity happens based on attaining acceptance by having faith and dependency beyond the tangible.
The bottom line is that every human being has been faced with circumstances that are beyond their control. There are times when we need to be in control means giving up control.
Secondly, “…the courage to change the things I can…” Whereas acceptance is the thematic essence of the first part of the serenity prayer, courage and faith evolve into changing the things we can. The intelligent harmony of the universe seems to have that balance with humankind whereby individuals are graced with the abilities to make changes that are within their control. Enemies against our abilities to take control are characteristics like procrastination, anger, inflated ego or, more so, a lack of spiritual growth.
Finally, “… the wisdom to know the difference.” Knowledge is one thing, but wisdom is the power to demonstrate that knowledge. Wisdom can be described as experience, good judgement, and being perceptive.
The pursuit and practice of serenity develop the wisdom to know sound judgement in knowing what can be changed and what cannot. The quality of insight and understanding is a process whose source is experience. Verbally repeating and practicing the serenity prayer allows it to become systemic.
The state of serenity is usually opposed to an anxious state. Fears and anxieties usually take person’s out of the present moment, then places them into future and past thoughts, feelings, and behaviours. People’s state then becomes a whirlwind of fears and worry and sadness.
On the other end of the spectrum, serenity can be a practiced perspective of how the world we live in can be viewed. It does not have to be perfect to attain mental clarity but with practice one can approach uncertainty by looking through the lens of serenity.