In How philosophy can save your life, discover how great philosophers can help you live a more purposeful and peaceful life.
What is serenity?
Serenity is the possession of a steady spirit that provides a consistent way of being in the world no matter what. This steadiness is rooted in an unflappable inner sanctuary that has room for both sadness and joy.
Possessing this essential undisturbed core does not imply a happy or carefree life nor preclude difficulty and heartache. Up in the morning…aware…steady…living…steady…day’s end…steady. Disappointment, adventure, surprise all come and go; deep within, all is calm. This serene constancy is not flashy yet its magnetic force is irresistible. Calm is contagious; a tranquil atmosphere is restorative. Serenity is good for the body. It wears well on the face.
Circumstances vary and serenity may be hard to imagine in some lives. Still, tranquility and turmoil can coexist, serving as lesson and reminder. Appreciating its value and making the choice to cultivate serenity is the beginning. Far from being a keepsake to have and to hold, tranquility is won through awareness, good judgment, and practice. It takes work to uncover our quite haven.
The path to serenity lies within our reach
Epictetus’ practical philosophy never strayed from his worldview. Reason is the key to the universe itself and therefore it is our ticket to the good life. The cosmos in its entirety is one large rational being. The world spins on an axis of rational natural laws.
Our reason reveals this natural cosmic harmony to us, and by being reasonable we can bring this same balance and harmony to our personal lives. Reason should dominate each response and motivate every action. Because we are part of a universe ruled by a reason, a tranquil life is in keeping with this reality. We falter and suffer whenever emotion and desire drown out reason’s counsel.
A rational life is the only life that can endure as it is the one that carries us with life’s current.
As with Epictetus, Lao Tzu’s lifestyle reflected his view of the cosmos. The universe is an all-embracing whole with everything wrapped snugly within its folds. The common source of all being is the Tao; all radiates from its eternal center. This invisible flow of energy is the root that gives birth both to the visible and to the empty space that craddles all things. The Tao permets everything, lying beneath, inside, around, and beyond…through, beside, above, and forever.
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