Serenity is defined not just by quiet and a lack of activity. There is a distinct feeling of calm and peace associated with serenity that goes beyond the mere act of doing nothing. A stillness settles in our soul and spirit as we slip into the state of being. Serenity requires us to actively trust, to relax into who we are, and to quietly celebrate that act of relaxation. With serenity comes a feeling of oneness and unity. When we are serene, we are in touch with our inner power and that of the universe. We feel whole and connected to all living things.
On the topic of serenity, Anne Wilson Schaef writes:
“When we are not really dealing with our disease of doing too much, we are often silent and not serene. We have only shut up for awhile and are still ‘tense and confined’ like a city park shut off from activity.
Serenity is more like having a ‘country silence’ within. Serenity is an acceptance of who we are and a being of who we are. Serenity is an awareness of our place in the universe and a oneness with all things.”
Anyone who has been somewhere isolated and remote before—such as the expansive woods of Northern Michigan, the rugged frontier of Alaska, or the rolling hills of Montana—will tell you that there is a significant difference between “city quiet” and “country quiet.” In the city, one can never truly experience the all-encompassing silence one gets in the wilderness. There is always a dull hum of traffic in the background, a quiet reminder of the endless hustle and bustle of city life. In nature, we encounter a silence so deep as to seem almost profound. It humbles us, and brings with it a sense of power and greatness beyond ourselves. We feel closer to God and to the universe when faced with it.
There are times in our disease where we find ourselves silent and tense. We are not dealing with our addiction, nor are we serene. When we do too much, our silence becomes a marker that something is wrong. We might go quiet because we have lost ourselves to our disease of busyness and overwork. We could be so overwhelmed and burned out, we lack the energy to say much of anything. Or we could by paralyzed by fear of imperfection, failure, the list goes on.
If we try very hard to reach deep within ourselves, we might recall a time when we felt serene. A time when we were in touch with that deep profound silence within ourselves. When we were calm and at peace simply being ourselves. That memory is the first step of our journey to finding our way back to a place of serenity and inner peace.