In my country there is a magazine called Happinez. It is a very popular magazine, about mindfulness and everything new age and a bit of zen and yoga. I read it with pleasure, for it has such a lovely layout and beautiful photography besides interesting articles.
The latest issue has an article about Sri Swami Sivananda and his "18 ity's" song. And Happinez has set us an assignment. Or rather a challenge. Work through those 18 ities, one a week, and describe what they do to/with you.
I like a good challenge; so here it is.
The 18 ities are: serenity, regularity, absence of vanity, sincerity, simplicity, veracity, equanimity, fixity, non-irritability, adaptability, humility, tenacity, integrity, nobility, magnanimity, charity, generosity and purity.
What is serenity?
The word serene means calm and peaceful.
The first image that comes to mind is of a calm landscape, without wind or people.
Still waters, empty views, the only sound that of birds or of a lazy bee, and it depends very much on which birds. The urgent cawing of crows kills serenity as fast as a ghetto blaster sounding as a blast from the past, or the happy cries of children for that matter.
Children and serenity don't go together, except when they slumber.
Serenity is a trait often associated with religious people. Nuns, monks. Most of us cannot be called serene. Although very old people sometimes come close to it. Probably because they have accepted that the only thing left to them is letting go of all urgency.
Am I serene? No way! I often try to remain calm, but it feels like a calm in the eye of a storm. My life isn't peaceful, and never has been.
Would I like to 'have' some serenity? Certainly. It sounds like a good thing to experience. Perhaps, some day.
Meanwhile, I will try to find some serenity in the days to come. Since it's hard to find it within myself, I'll try to find it in life around me.
One of the places where I will look, is next to my pond. I'll have to filter out the sounds of street life outside my garden; revving engines, screaming kids, laughing neighbours, barking dogs, airplanes starting their descend to Rotterdam Airport. My frogs are allowed to sing though.
What I can attain, right now, is a serene picture.
Here you are. Serenity.