Serenity is a gift that is available to all of us. It’s the feeling of peace and stillness within, that sense of being one with the universe, that you find in the presence of truly awesome (in the literal sense of being awed) beauty—a scenic mountainscape, the Grand Canyon, a vista overlooking a vast forest, the ocean, or even a piece of art that touches something deep inside you. Serenity often comes to me when I am alone in nature.
On the topic of serenity, Anne Wilson Schaef writes:
“When we are operating out of the addictive process, we know little of serenity. The world serenity is something that we understand in abstract and often not in practice. As we begin to take care of ourselves and recover from our compulsive doing, we begin to experience moments of serenity. The first we experience serenity, it may zip through our consciousness like a meteor and scare us to death, because this feeling of serenity is so foreign to us. After a while, we begin to recognize these moments of serenity as very special, and we try to make them happen through rituals, practices, and techniques. We are now not focusing on controlling the world, we are trying to control our experience of serenity . . . back to the drawing board.”
Praying and meditation are two ways we achieve serenity that are more readily accessible to us than being in the presence of something wondrous. Addiction keeps us from serenity because it hurts us, damaging us from the inside out. Addiction keeps us from being in touch with ourselves; it is a disease from which we must heal in order to truly know serenity again. This is because addiction is avoidance. We use whatever it is that we are addicted to as a coping mechanism to numb ourselves to our pain, our fears, our worries and doubts. We have to be truly present with ourselves and aware to experience serenity.
The other part of Anne’s meditation for today is that if we are not careful, we can find ourselves trying to control our experience of serenity as well. Once you establish an addictive pattern of behavior, it is very easy to slip back into it unconsciously, even in different areas of our lives. The pattern of unhealthy control and addiction can return with even with positive experiences like serenity. After all, isn’t working hard a positive trait as well? It is when we take good things to extremes that they become problematic.
Be open to experiencing moments of serenity when they happen naturally. As with anything in life, moderation is key.