The experience of spiritual awakening is unique to the individual. When it happens, how it feels, where it takes place, and the life changes that ensue differ from person to person.
That being said, we tend to find common threads of experience in spiritual “communities” like New Thought churches and centers and 12-step programs. For instance, many people describe how prayer takes on a new relevance and becomes more meaningful. Whereas the “old” way of praying may have been by rote, the “new” way is heartfelt and connected.
Over time, even the new way becomes vulnerable to mechanization. How many times, for example, have we recited the beautiful Serenity Prayer in a rather unconscious fashion?
As a reminder to stay awake, aware, and alive while praying, we bring you a wonderful exploration of a time-honored favorite. The essay originally appeared in the 100th issue of Conscious Living, the newsletter of the Conscious Living Foundation.
In gratitude, harmony, and support,
Understanding the Serenity Prayer
God, Grant me the Serenity
To accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And Wisdom to know the difference.
Many folks do not understand the meanings of the Serenity Prayer, and of consequence are left in a limbo of constant confusion as they continue to battle the conditions of life.
Let us examine this marvelous Prayer of Supplication to the Higher Power, which speaks to all human beings from deep down within.
God . . . A name and concept of this Higher Power, which most folks erroneously conceive to be outside themselves, separate from and alien to themselves, a “Santa Claus” god which is supposed to fulfill their dreams, their wishes and wants, to “make” the conditions of Life comply with their desire and their idea of “religious correctness.” Sorry about that, it just doesn’t happen that way. The Big Book of AA, on Page 55, establishes the conditions and locale of our relationship and understanding which we are to acquire of “Our” Higher Power:
“We finally saw that faith in some kind of God was a part of our make-up, just as much as the feeling we have for a friend. [But of a much greater friend, for in fact it is our own self, Our Own True Self, that portion of localized divinity that He has given to each of His Children.] Sometimes we had to search fearlessly, but He was there. He was as much a fact as we were. We found the Great Reality deep down within us. In the last analysis it is only there that He may be found. It was so with us.”
We are never separate from God. Separation from God is only an illusion that we have created.
Grant . . . to assure (in its original meaning) a knowingness of the orderliness of God’s eternity, a prized condition that we earn through our efforts of learning to apply the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous to our lives, not an undeserved “gift” as we hear so many times around the tables of AA. Me––The I Am, of self, the True Self, that portion of self which knows that it is, in all instances.
Serenity . . . Again a word that is misunderstood, that most folks take to mean a quiet, unruffled, calm, undisturbed, tranquil condition in the circumstances of life about us. In truth what it really means is Presence of Mind in the Here and Now, viewing the Reality of whatever conditions and circumstances that may be occurring . . . Not fighting Reality with illusions of how things should or should not be.
To Accept . . . To acknowledge the Truth of Reality, to take what is offered or given, to receive willingly. As we are given Life, one moment, one condition, one circumstance, one happening at a time. God’s Life for God’s Kids has to be a happening. It can’t be any other way.
The things I cannot change . . . Reality, period. Reality cannot be changed. It simply is. And no amount of mind-bending illusion creating will change it. The Truth is the Truth and it needs no defense. The only thing we humans can do with Reality is change our point of view, our perspective. Reality itself will remain unchanged.
Courage . . . The ability to make the Responsible Decisions Necessary and take Action to DO the things we already know need to be done in the face of unknown outcomes and consequences. Our Life is determined by the decisions and actions that we take and the thoughts that we hold, by no other forces. We must in all cases live with the consequences of our decisions or our lack of decision. Life cannot be lived any other way.
To change the things I can . . .The only thing that we can change is our perspective as we view Reality, learning to make better Responsible Decisions, living our way to better thinking each moment.
And Wisdom to Know the Difference . . . Wisdom, an acquired trait through the experience of life, a recognition and remembrance of the things which do or do not coincide with Reality, which do or do not work, of the things which are true, which are honest, for that is the meaning of Truth, Rigorously Honest.
It has been said that a Wise Man’s education toward understanding his own universe and reality (and to some extent yours) will embrace as much folly as he can afford. It is only to the degree that he can afford it, that he will be able to laugh at himself. If he embraces more folly than he can afford, he will cry.
The wise man knows that success in life is achieved by simply putting a whole lot of mistakes together in a way that works. “Wisdom is not something you think, Wisdom is something you DO!”