“Seek happiness in tranquility…”
― Mary Shelley
What is it in life for which we search so diligently? So many things come to mind: meaning in life, satisfaction, careers, wealth, friendships, romantic relationships, and possessions identify just a few. I am inclined to believe that all such goals represent merely a means to satisfy an even deeper desire. Perhaps an even greater need—one that echoes from the deepest recesses of our souls.
The Pursuit of Happiness???
For many Americans the pursuit of happiness represents that great desire. After all it is stated in the Declaration of Independence that the pursuit of happiness is an inalienable right of all human beings. I’d like to know exactly what the writers had in mind when that was written. I have this feeling that we may define happiness differently today than we did more than two hundred years ago.
It seems to me that today happiness is a rather transient state of mind, depending largely on our current state of affairs: when things are going well in life, we are happy. When we don’t get what we desire, we are not happy. Up and down and up and down once again. It is far too volatile, and too dependent on circumstances, to be for me a serious goal in life.
Tranquility: The Better Alternative
Although happiness is a most desired state of being, I believe that tranquility (or peace) is a most genuine treasure in the hearts of all people. Tranquility offers a solution to stress and worry, allowing us the freedom to pursue life unobstructed by those tendencies to doubt in consternation of what may be. Happiness is a temporary and passing quality while tranquility, once attained, is lasting.
Tranquility is that sense of peace that comes with acceptance of life as it is. It is rooted in a belief in a power greater than ourselves that wishes only good for us, and a sense of satisfaction with the treasures we have or experience… daily.
For instance, I am privileged to be writing this post in the lobby of a hotel in Hawaii as I am currently viewing palm tress swaying in the breeze backed by a calm sea of deep blue. And although I have substantive and trying meetings I must lead in three days, I have no worry. “One day at a time.”
Now tranquility does not, in any way, guarantee a life without troubles and challenges. Troubles, problems, challenges are a regular part of life on this planet. You will have challenges. Pam and I are facing a serious challenge even as I write this. Yet I still feel a great sense of personal peace and tranquility—as does my wife.
Where Can You Find Ultimate Tranquility?
From where do I get this sense of peace? For me (and Pam) the source of tranquility is rooted in trust. I trust that my future relies on a co-operative relationship with one Person—Jesus. No matter the situation I trust in the goodness of this person that lived a couple thousand years ago.
Shorty before he died Jesus said to his followers, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
I find it interesting that he said he gives peace “not as the world gives.” The peace we find in the world may be situational or temporary. But Jesus promised to be with us forever. As will his peace. Even when shit happens, he is still there and his aim is for your good.
Tranquility May Be Life’s Greatest Longing
Trust in a Power Greater than Yourself to Find It
Photo courtesy of boule13 at istockphoto