Five Steps to Achieving Serenity Now

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time; Enjoying one moment at a time; Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace; Taking, as He did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it; Trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His Will; That I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with Him Forever in the next. Amen.

~Reinhold Niebuhr

There is a great episode of Seinfeld where Kramer decides to create a front porch outside of his apartment. Also going on is a business venture in George's father's garage. Kramer's front porch suffers vandalism and the business venture goes bust. As the show ends, George's mother is driving the car back into the garage and we hear George's father screaming at the top of his lungs, "SERENITY NOW!"

What a contrast. Too often people wish for the version of serenity depicted in the Serenity Prayer, but seek serenity in the manner of George's father, screaming out either figuratively or literally, hidden in the scream is the plea for everyone around us to behave in a manner which will for once and finally give us SERENITY NOW! The Serenity Prayer is well known by most, but usually only the first verse. I find the second verse as valuable as the first. The prayer has long fascinated me as being simultaneously incredibly simple and incredibly complex. I just finished reading Eckhart Tolle's book A New Earth. There is no doubt that there is a kinship between his book and the Serenity Prayer. {openx:3} If we can all agree that serenity is a worthwhile goal, how do we achieve it? Here are five steps anyone can use to experience serenity now:

Breath. Any time you feel serenity slipping away, pay attention to your breathing. Feel the breath enter and leave your body. Pay attention to your chest and abdomen rising and falling as you breath. Think of nothing else but your breathing.

Stop and take time to examine your thoughts before you allow words to leave your mouth. What is behind the words you wish to speak? Will they be intentionally hurtful? Will your words escalate a hostile situation? Will your words bring love or hate into the physical realm of the world? Whenever you make a decision to stop negative words from leaving your mouth, you are giving yourself permission to also stop thinking negative thoughts. The less time your mind spends in a negative place, the more often you will experience serenity.

Remember...this too shall pass. This is, of course, a familiar statement which Eckhart Tolle also covers in his book. The interesting thing about the statement is that we often hear it only when something "bad" is happening in our life. But of course, the same statement applies when something "good" is happening as well. This is the fact that Eckhart Tolley makes. And it fits well with the concepts of the Serenity Prayer. Life is lived in moments. Whether we perceive the moment as good or bad, the moment will pass and give rise to another. Choose this moment to achieve serenity.

Stop Doing and Start Being. A very good friend used to frequently remind me that we are human "beings", not human "doings". We define ourselves so much by what we do. So much so that if we lose a job it is as if who we are ceases to exist. We are so busy involving our children and ourselves in activities, terrified that if we pause for even one moment, who we are will disappear along with the ceased activity. If you find doing nothing a difficult assignment, then the time to learn is now. Get acquainted with the self that you are at rest, doing nothing. Know who you are. And know that who you are bears no resemblance to what you do.

Unshackle yourself from the importance of material possessions. I can't speak for your world, but in my world, this seems to be the hardest lesson for people to learn and the issue which separates so many people I love from experiencing serenity. To be sure, I have many of my own obstacles to serenity. But this isn't one of them. At least not directly. My serenity challenge here is to not allow others' need to protect, hoard and worship material possessions trigger a desire in me to persuade them of the futility of the activity.

So there you have five steps to achieving serenity now. After all, now is all you have.

What methods do you use to achieve serenity?

1 Comment

Darla Baker

I'm not a sex therapist. I just play one in books. After thirty years in technology providing therapy to unsuspecting software and systems engineers, she's now counseling fictional people as a fictional sex therapist in the Thalia Chase: Sex Therapist series.


I'm not a sex therapist. I just play one in books. After thirty years in technology providing therapy to unsuspecting software and systems engineers, she's now counseling fictional people as a fictional sex therapist in the Thalia Chase: Sex Therapist series.