When I began my spiritual journey in 1977, the first quality in others that I was attracted to was serenity. I didn’t know that I was attracted to the quality of serenity. Instead I was attracted to serene people. I was going to AA and one of the strengths that you are taught in 12 step meetings was to learn how to help others.
The jobs that a beginner can volunteer for include setting up the meetings and helping clean the rooms after the meeting. For the beginner it can be a humbling experience to begin learning the true lesson of anonymity which is to do something without taking credit or bragging about what was done.
The meetings that I volunteered for were overseen by this man that was so calm and peaceful that I knew I wanted whatever he had. Finally one night I asked how he had gotten whatever he had. It was hard for him to define “it”. But he recommended a little pamphlet about serenity. The booklet taught me two major lessons.
The first lesson was the story of the man in the desert with the whirling dervishes. Someone came up to the man and asked him what he did about the whirling dervishes and he said that he just let them whirl. What a concept! I was beginning to be introduced to detachment and letting it go and change what you can and let the rest go.
The second lesson I learned from the booklet was an illustration that contained an explanation of serenity as picturing a swan beautifully gliding on the surface of the water. But under the water, the swan was paddling furiously in order to go forward. With my thinking at the time, I thought that this seemed dishonest. Such was the power of my brain to distort everything I experienced.
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