Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Of Serenity, Courage, and Wisdom

God grant me the serenity
To accept things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can, and
The wisdom to know the difference.

-Reinhold Niebuhr

The serenity prayer has been trying to help me out in various situations in life, but I've been so desperately trying not to pay heed to it. The wisdom to know the difference is something I believe I have. Courage too, but its more of trying to change the way events happen, by influencing others, rather than try to bring a change in myself. However, serenity is something I totally lack.

Now that I introspect and retrospect, I see that I could have solved almost every problem that ever troubled me had I had the above three ingredients in the right proportions. A disproportionate value of one of them screws the entire recipe up.

Anyways, let me start it one baby-step at a time...
God grant me the serenity...


Violet said...

I know how to pull you out from such moods. Come over, and we'll watch kungfu panda together :)

Roli said...

Hmmm...everything should be in right proportion... and always have a soft heart for others and hard for ourself ie Courage.

Amiya Shrivastava said...

It's a very inspiring post!! I have learnt a great deal from this!! And resetting life as you are doing is very important at many instances in life!! You know so you are doing the right thing! and lemme also start one baby step at a time!

God grant me the serenity...

Mayank said...

well its good to have a good recipe but we must always try to increase the last two ingredients at the cost of first.
only then we can bring the change we think we cannot

KT said...

I think I'd pray --

God grant me the COURAGE
To accept things I cannot change,

The courage to change the things I can, and

The wisdom to know the difference.

don't you think .. it needs a bit of courage as well to accept that something which you want someway can't naturally/otherwise be that way.

ashes said...


Thanks a lot. I wish that had helped.

Even though you tried your best and Kungfu Panda was a real good one, but the many glitches almost negated it...:(

ashes said...


Right. You put it in a different way and then I realize that's what I really need, courage for myself. I don't have the courage to be serene, I am not harsh with myself, tend to satisfy every silly whim I have.

ashes said...


Glad that you liked and got inspired by the Serenity prayer. Many people find it really calming and soothing; I too want to, but almost always fail miserably.

Indigo said...


ashes said...


Your sentiments match Roli's somewhat, but the cost of the first ingredient is quite high. I've been trying to do exactly that--increasing the last two ingredients at the cost of first, and believe me, it hasn't been that easy without the first ingredient.

ashes said...


You echo Roli and Mayank. Does everyone think so? Courage can replace serenity?

Well, at the risk of being labelled a braggart, I believe I have enough courage and wisdom, still I remain unsettled, preoccupied, tensed, perturbed, and irritated. Only if I had some serenity and tranquility, I would not have been writing this post.

ashes said...



Siddharth said...

If it's any solace, know that you are not alone. Having them in the right proportion is anyone's dream come true and you know how improbable the chances of dreams turning intro reality are so... there you go; believe that this is a handicap faced by all of us and shine...and something more; whatever the situation and however we have fared in life, if u introspect and look in retrospect you will inevitably find something to rue about.

Cuckoo said...

Hmmmmm.. very difficult prayer indeed... to be granted in true sense.
Even if you get, what is the boundary ? When will you declare that you've attained 'enough' serenity ? Now 'enough' is again debatable.

For all these things we'll have to search within ourselves.


ashes said...


I never knew you read my posts.

Well yes, you are right. Dreams don't come true, and you must have the serenity to accept that.

ashes said...


Well, pardon me, but I could not help picking out references from Wren & Martin, who sometimes said about nouns being countable etc. So serenity, courage, and wisdom, all virtues for that matter, fall into the second category. Therefore there is no measure of 'enough' serenity.

But yes, you have to search withing yourself for all this. Prayers are just a means, which works because of the faith that you have about some supernatural being, who in effect, is nowhere. Its that faith that helps you out, faith makes you not having everything under your control, and...well, a long debate again...and you know what I think I'll do with it...

Navshree said...

hey thats the prayer they read out at Alchoholic annonymous meetings world over. Infact I keep this right above my head on my study table rack

ashes said...


Yes, that's the prayer they read after all meetings at Alcoholics Anonymous; in fact, the above current version is drafted by AA, and is a modified form of the original. Also, AA published this (1950), acknowledging Neibuhr as the aurhor, before Neibuhr himself published it in 1951.

Cool, like many other people, you seem to be a silent reader at my blog. :) Keep visiting and commenting.

Anadi Misra said...

Very inspirational...Just curious, was Navshree in AA?

ashes said...



No no, Navshree Didi was not in AA...I dont know how did she get that on the top...maybe just because that's a famous prayer and she'd have got it as a framed quote, and would have googled or wikipedia'ed it to talk about AA.

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