Formulas, stories, and insights
By Rabbi Zelig Pliskin
Mesorah Publications, Ltd.
The most important awareness for becoming serene is to realize that serenity is up to you. There are two myths that work against mastery of serenity. Right at the beginning it is imperative to clarify the truth.
Myth One: Believing that serenity is a gift that either you possess or do not possess. Some people are born with serenity and are fortunate. Someone who is not naturally serene has little hope of changing. This misconception is a major block.
Truth: Serenity is a learnable skill. Every normal human being has the ability to learn the basics. Your brain creates serenity or its opposite. If you frequently experience stress, anxiety, tension, frustration, anger, and other unresourceful states, these are created by the way that you use your brain. You have amazing potential to condition your brain so that you frequently create and access the state of serenity, along with other resourceful states such as joy, courage, and patience. With knowledge and persistence everyone has the potential to gain greater mastery over his emotional states. Anyone who claims that we cannot is just saying that he has not yet learned this skill.
Myth Two: Believing that only when someone is in a perfectly peaceful environment can one maintain serenity.
Truth: Yes, it is much easier to be serene when you are in an ideal place with a peaceful atmosphere. Yes, it is much easier to be serene when all the people you interact with are rational, kind, and calm. Nevertheless, even when the external environment is far from being optimally fit for serenity, we have the ability to create an inner serenity and to resiliently bounce back when we temporarily lose it.
Step one for serenity mastery is to accept the concept that you personally can increase your level of serenity. Since serenity is within you and is created by your thoughts, you can learn the patterns that are conducive for serenity and eliminate limiting patterns.
While doing research for this book, I asked people who had not yet read it (of course), “What stops you from being serene?”
I received many answers. “I’m not serene because I wasn’t born that way.” “My family was dysfunctional.” “My parents were high achievers and were always busy and in a rush.” “My business is highly competitive.” “I find school work difficult.” “I have financial pressures.” “I have so much to learn and I am constantly behind.” “I have a busy schedule.” “There are so many people who irritate and frustrate me.” “Everyone in my profession experiences premature burnout.”
No one answered, “I’m not serene because I haven’t yet learned and mastered this skill.” Since serenity is up to each individual this is the only accurate answer. When you put in the effort to master serenity, in retrospect you will be grateful that you did.