The Scripture of the Serene Life
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THE SCRIPTURE OF THE SERENE LIFE
Lo!—the Heart-Truth, the Central Gospel, the Mid-Word of Life!
The Word of words and the Doctrine of doctrines, simple as clear air and clear water, deep with the mystery of eternal depths.
Whoever you are, it is your solution and your liberation.
From this fountain flows unfailing Joy.
And you need not wait, you may have it now.
To stand alone, serene and sweet, untouched and strong, radiating your own light, content in your own calm, deriving all revenues from within—this is the Maturity, the Sought -for, the Secret of Life.
Peace on your brow, a smile in your eye, freedom in your heart.
Peace, inward greatness, out-flowing sweetness—Serenity.
As a flower blooms, as a bird sings, so live—at one with the world-currents.
Is it heaven you desire? Serenity is heaven, and if serene, you are in heaven now.
Is it hell you fear? Take serenity with you and in that time and place hell fades and heaven arrives.
Is it virtue you crave? From the fountain of the serene soul all good things flow, in its soil all great things grow.
If you were a slayer and wished to kill, a robber and wished to steal, a gambler and desired to cheat, serenity would be more profitable to you than agitation and anxiety, for under all circumstances serenity gives the sane eye and steady hand; nevertheless, who so plants serenity in his soul finds it not easy or moving with his impulses to do evil to his fellow men. As naturally as the sun spreads light, does he share and bestow his joy.
Religions, ideals and reforms: These are indeed all useful and serviceable in their time and place, to be regarded, worked for, attained, lived and outlived, but the serene life is profitable to every man, every woman, and every child, at every stage of life, conviction and development—always in place and always in time.
The toddling infant with the Serene Thought shames the domed philosopher, care -laden.
Love and love and evermore love, but to have any love before this is to love into larger pain.
Serenity is itself the greatest of works, the supreme courage, the perfect riches, the inclusive virtue, the helpfullest of helps, the most lovable and love-giving thing in life.
It is hope at dawn, strength at noontide, peace at sunset, sweetness all night long.
Trouble not yourself, therefore, about life or death, sickness or health, gain or loss, beauty or deformity, success or failure, loves or separation. Be, indeed, prudent and careful, tender and sympathetic, doing all things the best and appreciating every joy, but let all things taken from you pass as lightly as ripples on a stream.
Attach yourself to nothing and let nothing hold you, nor hold you anyone. Love always with a releasing, liberating touch, helping the beloved with blessing and good-will to leave when the time comes.
Deny yourself no legitimate ambition, passion, love or aspiration, but if you look at them with serenity it will be as thru the little end of your reversed telescope, so far and trivial shall they seem by comparison with the Really Important.
The Really Important:—always the peace and greatness of your own soul. Live whatever truth comes to you, do whatever work is given you, practice whatever virtue is your ideal, but make no painful effort in these things: let them be easy and natural, blooming and dropping like the flowers, ripening and falling like the fruits.
For all these things and changes are the concern of the Great Life, but your life has but one concern—to be serene.
After you have considered the greatness of your own soul, write over the name of everything else: It does not matter.
Nothing matters to you except the sweetness of your own soul and that matters to you just this moment.
The Serene Life is simply to be serene and to make that the first thing in life.
It is simply an attitude of the mind.
Accept and be acceptable, release and be released, love and let all go free.
Live truth, work excellence, reach toward your ideal, but trouble not your soul about the meagreness of material results, for all spiritual labors work along invisible lines to unforeseen and universal results.
They always seem to miss their aim and always hit a larger and more eternal mark.
Let all things move freely around you; and float you, yourself, on the eternal currents.
The larger all your interests, the wider all your views, the more considerate and sympathetic your forgiveness of all mistakes and faults, the more God-like and restful and unlimited your loves, the easier for you to be serene.
To be serene is to live as God lives, in the eternal aloneness and the eternal love.
Open your heart fearlessly to the joy of living, for you are now released; see good in everything, for this is the secret of happiness and the key of joy. Neither in heaven nor earth nor hell, nor in any world here or hereafter, is there any real condemnation or danger for you!
In peril, disaster and shame wear a smile in your eyes and freedom in your soul. Nothing can injure you unless it first trouble you.
A serene face in calamity helps more than the rescue-gang.
Pain is the great teacher and the great foreman, but whoso has attained the Serene Life is above pain even while under it, does the work without driving, learns the lesson without stripes, looks into the mouth of trouble and takes out the fangs, extracts the sting of the strange bee and saves the honey. Pain pre-eminently teaches us to be serene, for health is that serenity of the flesh which feels no pain, and serenity is that health of the soul which is above pain.
The one unpardonable sin (unpardonable because your own soul does not pardon it) is for you to prefer any other love or joy or success to the serene beauty and steadfastness of your own soul. When you center on anything else, no matter how beautiful, good or great, peace leaves you.
Live for your own soul and for your soul alone, and then, from that center, all the good working and loving of your life will get itself done, and well done.
I shall say it a thousand times, but I shall say it till you remember it: let your thought center forever on self-greatness and you are an island-rock in a troubled sea.
All the lessons of life teach you this one lesson, all the philosophies agree in this, all religions center here.
All life is a preparation for standing alone. If you noticed carefully enuf you will remember that everything you ever leaned on or depended on began straight way to crumble and to give way, or, if it seemed to bear your weight awhile, it was to break all the more suddenly and disastrously in the end.
To be self-centered is to be God centered, for the true Center and the true Self is God, the Serene One, back of all appearances and of all persons separate.
In the moment when you stand perfectly alone, serene and calm, in that moment the Paradox is fulfilled—Nirvana arrives, your self disappears, and you are in the One Love with all.
12 The Scripture of
It is not necessary to fear love, as the ascetics teach, for if you love from above, from high enuf, you cannot love too many or too much ; the moment you give yourself to any love as supremely important, or center on it as the source of all your joy, in that moment love becomes your enemy and will surely steal away your peace.
It shall not be important to you that this one love you, or that one, or that anyone or many withdraw love, but it shall be very important to you how beautifully you can love how many.
Observe the man who has lost health, love and means, but who has kept his serenity, and again observe the man who has all these but who is careworn and troubled, and you shall have no difficulty in deciding which is victor, which vanquished in life's battle.
If you hold on to anything which is moving away it holds on to you with an equal grip—beware! or it will draw you from the heaven of your soul.
In all ages great men have drawn strength and solace from solitude, and this is so because in solitude men learn to know themselves and to stand alone.
This is that to which all the roads and carriages of our civilization are arriving—the knowledge and the power of standing alone.
So long as you are not content in yourself, so long as you lean or depend on any other, so long you cannot be serene you are weak yourself and a source of weakness.
The ideal society is the loving confederation of able-to-stand-separate individuals—whose link of unity is their love of independence; who ask beautiful difference, not likeness; whose need is to love, not to be loved; to spend wealth, not receive alms.
The moment you stand alone, serene and strong, love will flow to you from every quarter, eyes will fix on you with hope, hands will stretch out to you for help. Then give freely, but let no man hold you, nor assume you the life of any—refer each man to himself, teach him also how to stand alone.
When you become serene, you find yourself yourself; and find yourself floating securely on the Stream.
Alone, you are one with all.
Letting go everything, everything supports you.
When you become serene you become young, for serenity is youth. In that moment you see that you who have always lived and always shall live, need never grow old—peace in the present and toward the future, that is all---and that is eternal youth.
Serenity accounts for the joyousness of children, animals and all natural life, for the natural life yields itself without hesitation to the currents of the universe and troubles not itself for the morrow.
When I sat on the sod in the sun I said: “Here is happiness enow for one of God's babies."
Insult and injury—serenity will lift you to the Overlook, and then your sympathy will not be for yourself.
Or if you have given offense, Serenity will show you how to make amends.
Can you imagine a serene man pitying himself?
Can you imagine a serene man unkind?
Can you imagine a serene man losing his head?
Can you imagine a serene man weeping at a funeral?
Can you imagine a serene man breaking his heart? Or having indigestion? Or going mad? Or asking God to change his mind?
Did you ever reflect that serenity constituted a perfect and universal school of manners?—self-possession, radiant consideration and sweetness, that is serenity and that fulfills the code.
The well-mannered are gentle-folk, you know, and gentleness is the sweetness of strength so is serenity.
Take time, for time is the greatest material essential in the serene life--nevertheless, to be serene in moments of driving stress is the greatest victory of the serene soul.
Just at this moment to be serene, is always the most important thing within your mental and material horizons.
And be sure of this, if you are serene your life will always be significant, and the dignity and sweetness of your personality and presence will be as inevitable as the health of sunlight and the inspiration of open air, and like a magnet you will draw the loyalty of men and women to you by a compelling charm.
For it is certain no one lacks observation or attraction who attains a summit which many are instinctively yearning to scale.
Lo! he is greatest who is never defeated by his own defeats.
Calmness is the seal of strength. Sweetness is the ripeness of fruit.
And there is nothing to all more helpful, beautiful in life than the serene and centered soul.
- J. William Lloyd, The Scripture of the Serene Life (Santa Barbara, California: Red Rose Press, n.d.).