A Path Called Serenity 13-01-2021

“Life is hard!” This is an all-too-common expression—one that, in one form or another, we hear, say, or think daily. Today’s economic, health, and political uncertainty only feed the many fears and worries about the future.

How do I deal with all this? Should I? Could I instead become a hermit—living away from society, and not having to deal with others and the problems of the world?

For various reasons, retreat from the world is not a viable option for most people. Personally, I am not a hermit. I am living in the world, in a turbulent environment full of uncertainties and challenges. Every day, I also need to deal with my friends, family, and (possibly) spouse, children, and many more. If I am lucky and have work, I also need to deal with business associates and colleagues. If not, I need to find work. So how can I acquire inner peace? How can I find serenity? 

Can we use great people as role models in overcoming hardships? Or do they have some special ability we lack? Often, one hears the common reply , “Well, they aren’t called great for nothing—it’s easy for them!” In fact, this is not the case at all. In addition to overcoming worldly difficulties, they had to overcome the very essence of their humanity, and master it too.

Is Seclusion the Solution?

With the lockdown forcing people together indoors, resentment and frustration begin to grow. People living together fall into bickering. Home may start to feel like prison, and, as Sartre said, the other can feel like hell.

However, solitude is not the solution. When we try to escape the struggle of tolerating others by retreating into solitude, those unhealed ill feelings we take with us are merely hidden, not erased. Unless these feelings are first purged, solitude and withdrawal from the world not only foster them, but also keep them concealed. As soon as something happens which arouses and challenges us, our hidden and previously unnoticed passions immediately break out—like uncontrolled horses that have long been kept unexercised and idle, dragging their driver violently and wildly to destruction. Our ill feelings grow fiercer when left idle through lack of contact with other people.

Poisonous creatures, living quietly in their lairs in the desert, display their fury only when they detect someone approaching. Likewise, many persons, who live quietly not because of their good temperament but because of their solitude, spit forth their venom whenever someone approaches and provokes them.

It is good to seek peace in nature, and visiting the wilderness is helpful to a certain extent. However, one needs to keep focusing on acquiring inner peace, for, “when a person finds no inner peace, it is useless to keep seeking it elsewhere.”

A wise person was once asked about his preference of a living place; his native country (Lebanon), or another advanced country where he has a nice apartment. His reply was, “Wherever I go, I carry myself with me!”

So, wherever you are, the only person you need to handle 24 hours a day is yourself. Consequently, you need to build resilience, flexibility, adaptability, positive attitude, and emotional control to handle yourself and others. Although life now feels like being in a shipwreck, “we must not forget to sing in the lifeboats.”

Silence/ Inner Peace

“The tree of silence bears the fruit of peace”

Indeed, even if you cannot acquire the silence of hermits, you can allocate some time for silence in your daily routine. Allocate around half an hour in the evening when the children (if you are married) are asleep, or fifteen minutes in the early morning before anyone wakes up, or several minutes during a lunch break, etc. Do not do any activity at all during this time.

Watch your Thoughts

Nowadays, possibly the worst and most widespread disease we face is that of bad thoughts. In this age of information, people are used to having many things on their minds—except good thoughts. Our minds move towards bad thoughts, leading us to look at things in a distorted way. We focus on the negative things and not the positive things.

People think constantly. According to the Discovery Channel, one has 12,000 - 50,000 thoughts a day. So, you can’t empty your mind of thoughts. It would be like trying to empty the ocean of its water. Thoughts just keep coming back. The only solution is to be vigilant and watch over your thoughts. If you carelessly neglect this task, your head will constantly fill up with all kinds of unhealthy thoughts. 

You need to be constantly alert—watch over your thoughts like an antivirus computer program. Immediately block unhealthy, worrying, and negative thoughts and ill feelings. Worry allows a small object to cast a big shadow, robbing your inner peace. Bad thoughts and feelings can grow quickly like a snowball rolling down a hill, or multiply just like a human or computer virus. Treat each suspicious thought like a hand grenade thrown at you. Do not play with it; throw it away immediately before it explodes and hurts you.

Build a Different Inner Machine

Our aim should not only be to attain positive thinking, but also positive action. However, our actions are determined by the “machine” inside us, and not only by the “material” we ingest, or the environment we live in. If your machine produces bullets, it will always cause destruction, even if you feed it with gold or silver. Therefore, our ultimate goal should be to change our inner machine.

Final Words

“Beauty will save the world.” Dostoevsky’s enigmatic statement is still relevant today, and still difficult to live by. It is easy to focus on the ugly things in those who repel us, and on the attractive qualities in those on our side. Shift your focus. There are wonderful beauties in the universe, in our world, in different cultures: in art, buildings, music, dancing, wisdoms, spiritualities, and great human spirits. In your work on your inner peace and beauty, there is a lot to gain from these beauties.

An innovative and comprehensive self-help approach along the above path is presented in “A Path Called Serenity.” It is a multidimensional, joyful, and beautiful journey, a voyage which will allow one to enjoy the beauty of art, music, dance, inspiring quotes, and stories from all over the globe, via paintings, photos, and links to videos. Interwoven with these artifacts is a bouquet of different psychological principles, spiritualities, and wisdom from different cultures. “A Path Called Serenity” presents an ocean of wisdoms—dive into it and explore the depths of one’s hidden inner beauty.

Circumstances and situations do color life, but

you have been given the mind to choose what the color shall be.

Reference: A Path Called Serenity. By Bassam Tabshouri, Kobo 2019, www.solemndolphin.com