When I stumbled onto this phrase in some readings and thought about these ideal living goals, the alliteration make me think of Jane Austen. I must confess I’ve never read any of her books, or if I had, they were in high school or college and long forgotten. Perhaps this was partly a subconscious tug to read Sense and Sensibility.
Our noisy world is constantly confusing us through so many voices—true and false, right and wrong, buy this or that, do this or that—conspiring to restrict our innate abilities to judge and choose on our own. Serenity and stability are indeed lofty goals especially in our tumultuous world of 2020 and beyond. But honestly, this noise has been ongoing for years and years before the pandemic and political impacts on our lives.
Modern life is sadly driven by forces aimed at controlling us: social media constantly showing us what to buy, or filtering what to read, or unqualified politicians deciding what’s best for us, or the status quo pestering us to conform. The bottom line is all these efforts conspire to have us succumb to things we don’t control. Is that an absolute truth or can we exercise will and inoculate ourselves from these viral attempts?
Achieving serenity and stability comes through acting only on our choices and judgements and solely for those things within our control and not those controlled by the environment of modern life. It’s not a question of mastering avoidance and overcoming disruptions: these will only follow you wherever you mental run to until they achieve their purpose.
The solution lies in learning to chose to address only things within your control, while hardening objectivity against those judgements and influence from things out of your control. It’s not about ignoring everything out of your control, but rather about learning to not react to or act upon such things.
Once our focus shifts in this way, the noisy externals become things you are aware of but they’re no longer agents of agitation and disruption, nor unwanted influencers to your emotions or well being.