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Shippy's avatar

Are you seeking serenity?

Asked by Shippy (9870points) November 4th, 2012

Just to consolidate the meaning for this question, serenity and some of its attributes are: calmness, composure, peace, stillness, clearness, calm of temper, a state of being.

To me, serenity is the most precious states of being, perhaps one of the most sought after (think medications for example).

In the face of adversity, any type, serenity is possibly the most valuable of survival strategies. Are you seeking it? Have you found it?

Is it intermittent, like mine? Or is it constant. (constant being most of the time, as opposed to less of the time. ) and how did you find it? If you haven’t where are you looking? Have you met people who have achieved this?

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20 Answers

fremen_warrior's avatar

Are you handing out any? I could sure use some right about now.

TheProfoundPorcupine's avatar

I think mine is intermittent as well and I think for me it can be a difficult balancing act where you can feel serenity at any point during the day, but something can upset it and that feeling goes out of the window.

I feel that over time I have learnt how to be calmer in certain situations although I completely lack it in others, hence me saying its intermittent, but I’ve found that I feel it when I set myself far more realistic goals and then achieve them whereas before I would have goals that would make no sense and that would lead to frustration and all kinds of things that would eat away at me for a while.

In that sense I am still seeking it, but sometimes it finds me.

Coloma's avatar

Absolutely and I have enjoyed a decade of pure bliss and serenity after a nasty divorce. Oh man….precious doesn’t even come close to an accurate description of the inner peace and sheer joy of being free, single and living in a beautiful and pastoral setting. Serenity is THE #1 priority in my life! I can handle ANYTHING these days and still feel at peace, 99% of the time. :-D

gailcalled's avatar

Actively rather than desperately.

^^^Just sign my name to @Coloma‘s declaration above.

bookish1's avatar

I’m still looking for it. For years I sought it through Mahayana Buddhist practice, but I realized that I ended up using it as a weapon against myself (my fault, not that of Buddhism! But still… I don’t think there’s much room for transsexuals in Buddhism. I digress.)

Someone very dear to me (that homme fatal) told me that he discovered it is possible to find an interior intimacy, and I think that is what I am working on now. Along with fighting the solitude for which I have signed up in my academic career, I am working on becoming serene in my own company.

Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s fifth essay in “Reflections of the solitary walker” (Rêveries du promeneur solitaire) describes his insights into the nature of happiness and serenity. I have been trying to reflect on these (which are astonishingly close to some of the beginning premises of Buddhism, in fact!). It’s considered among the most beautiful writing in modern French, and here is my feeble translation of an excerpt:

“I have noticed that in the vicissitudes of a long life that the periods of the sweetest joys and the most lively pleasures are however not those of which the memory attracts and touches me the most. These brief moments of pleasure and passion, as vivid as they can be, are only however, by their very vivacity, sparse episodes in the stream of life. [...] Everything is in a continual flux on earth: nothing keeps a constant and solid form, and our affections which attach to exterior things necessarily pass and change. [...] But there is a state where the soul finds a place to rest itself completely and gather together its whole being, without need to recall the past nor look forward to the future [...] as long as this state lasts, he who finds himself in it can call himself happy, not an incomplete happiness, poor and relative like that which one finds in the pleasures of life, but of a sufficient happiness, perfect and whole, which leaves no void which the soul feels the need to fill. [...]

What does one enjoy in such a situation? Nothing exterior to oneself, nothing except oneself and one’s own existence; as long as this state lasts one suffices to oneself like God. [...]”

Lightlyseared's avatar

No… I have it on DVD.

gailcalled's avatar

@bookish1: I just found the Rousseau in French and have saved it for a good read sometime later.

One of my favorite quotes is Rousseau’s “Les fruits sont à tous et la terre n’est à personne.” (done from memory).

thorninmud's avatar

I find it counterproductive to seek serenity. Mind states come and mind states go. Sometimes there’s serenity, sometimes there’s anxiety, sometimes there’s fear…these are all just the normal fluctuations of the human mind responding to circumstances. If, on top of these fluctuations, I layer judgments about those mind states, chasing after some and trying to push away others, then I find that when the “undesirable” mind states are present I’m that much more unhappy. And when the “desirable” mind states do come, my efforts to prolong them and my resistance when they inevitably fade also add to my pains.

So instead, I just go with whatever state my mind is serving up at the moment, knowing it will surely change. And that’s OK.

Coloma's avatar

@thorninmud Well said and agreed, however, some states of inner peace can be quite sustainable, depending on the original source of anxiety eliminated or transcended. ;-)

flutherother's avatar

I don’t look for serenity much as I have quite a lot of it already. I look more for stimulation.

Coloma's avatar

@flutherother too! I think it is preferable to look for more stimulation rather than to wish for less.
Overstimulation is the problem. lol

jerv's avatar

@Lightlyseared Beat me to it :/

janbb's avatar

Will work on it as I am out of crisis mode, but I think great joy is higher on the list for me.

YARNLADY's avatar

I already found it. I enjoy it every single day.

FutureMemory's avatar

@Lightlyseared I need to get a dvd copy. I watch it on Netflix every few months.

Aethelwine's avatar

I wasn’t seeking it but it did find me after a stressful time in my life this past summer. It is a good feeling. I hope it lasts.

SavoirFaire's avatar

I agree with @thorninmud that serenity is not something one can seek directly, but I do try to live a life that seems likely to give rise to it.

Adagio's avatar

I don’t know about serenity but if you are Desperately Seeking Susan this could help……

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

Not on my list of priorities.

serenade's avatar

I am primed for it to come as soon as my life changes in some significant ways, but even before that happens, I am catching many more glimpses of it than anytime before, and it is quite delicious.

What is interesting, and not unlike some of the testimony above, is that it is in my case borne of profound suffering (in my case the angsty, existential kind). Or, perhaps it is the ingesting of psychic poison in very large doses. It was a heavy trip, but coming out of it, I am quite placid.

And I’m grateful.

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