Beeping horns. Roaring motors. Yelling people. Walk down any city street and we encounter the hustle and bustle that goes with living in an urban area. From barking dogs to the stress of an honest day’s work, our lives are a cosmos of unmitigated activity. Throw in texting, skyping, face-timing, podcasting, streaming and binge watching and our lives are a virtual cesspool of non-stop distraction. Void of peace, quiet and reflection, our existence is barren of tranquility, and yet it is there, where true life begins.
Looking back over time, tranquility has always been a much sought-after state. To eliminate anxiety, worry, and fret has always been a cherished goal. What could be more desired than a life free of anguish and unnecessary suffering? And yet, why do many of us lead lives of never-ending doubt and fear?
The human condition is peculiar, or perhaps more poignantly, we humans have a challenging time recognizing it for what it is. Seeking comfort, we detest any idea that contravenes what we want it to be. We hate change and the uncertainty that comes with it. Everything should happen exactly as we intend, and please, no interference from anything or anyone. Thank you.
Part of maturing from childhood to adulthood is the recognition that life brings no guarantees. A child may jump up and down for want of candy and the parent may give in, but an adult, doing the same, would look pathetic. And yet why do many “adults” behave in an untoward manner when something doesn’t happen their way? Could a lack of tranquility be the answer?
It was Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius (121 AD – 180 AD), known as the Philosopher Emperor, who in his famous work Meditations stated that “It is in your power to withdraw yourself whenever you desire. Perfect tranquility within consists in the good ordering of the mind, the realm of your own.” Was the good Emperor onto something, namely that the power to lead a tranquil life derives from within, regardless the extraneous circumstances?
Tranquility comes to those who understand the dynamics of life as they are and not as they desire them to be. We cannot worry about those things beyond our control. Whether or not the sun rises tomorrow is not for us to say. It’s out of our hands. But we can make our bed in the morning that we most certainly can do! Just the same, we can’t force someone to love us, but we can do our best to help it along the way. The rest is up to fate (see That Strange Thing Called Luck…).
Accepting what we can and can’t do and recognizing which is which, are the ingredients for a tranquil life. Worry that the world is going to end tomorrow never helped anyone sleep easier. But taking life one day at a time, focusing on what is immediately within our realm of possibility, and not running around in a frantic huff, will definitely do more for our sanity than trying to prevent the next apocalypse.
So in a crazy world, where attention seekers drum their beat day-in, day-out, and would have us believe it’s their way or catastrophe, tune out, chill and relax. It’s time for a little tranquility…
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