5 Keys to Tranquility

A revision of an entry from 2016.

I’m at a really weird point in my life.

When I look at the people around me — other people who are sorta in the same stage as me that I’ve either grown up with or recently crossed paths, I notice a pattern. I’ve noticed a lot of people beginning to take things seriously.

By this I mean I’ve seen people starting to take their lives seriously by trying to secure a future with an education or beginning to pursue a certain career path, or people starting to take themselves seriously and focusing on more mind-oriented goals as they develop a clearer understanding of who they are.

All this seriousness pushing my generation into adulthood is enveloped by a cloud of stress. The cause of stress is fear of the unknown. The unknown can definitely be scary because, hey, it’s unknown! We didn’t know where we’d be now 5 years ago, and we don’t know where we’ll be 5 years from now.

I’m sure everyone can agree that regardless of where we end up, the goal is to “be happy”. But what does this mean? If we’re not happy now then what are we? Yeah, we’re stressed, but we’re not constantly thinking about everything that stresses us out and feeling stressed 100% of the time.

Sometimes we’re stressed, and sometimes we’re happy. Why? Because they’re both feelings.

Feelings change constantly.

The end goal can’t be a feeling. Your thoughts get you to feelings, not your life events.

I think what people mean when they say they want to “be happy” is that they want to be at peace. They want to be pleased with whatever the unknown ends up being. They don’t want to be stressed out over bills and their jobs and their families. They don’t just want to “be happy”. They want to be tranquil.

Tranquility isn’t achieved by having a perfect life. Tranquility is achieved through your mind, because its a mental state. You can’t acquire internal goods using external equipment, such as your job or your environment. You acquire mental goods through mental means.

Tranquility, specifically, is obtained through practice. Patience, balance, adaptability, acceptance, and self sufficiency. These are mental characteristics that must be gained in order to reach a tranquil mindset.

Patience, because good things come to those who wait. Looking back on life, did every good thing that came your way come instantly? Was there hardship that had to be underwent in order to get to the good? Patience allows you to realize when you’re going through hardships or stagnancies and recognize in the grand scheme that’s it’s just a small part of your journey.

Balance, because nothing is meant to be perfect; nothing is meant to be all good. It’s all 50/50. What makes it good or bad is what you choose to focus on. Whether or not you have a “good” life is up to you. There are people with what seems to be everything who live awful lives and there are people with what seems to be nothing with fantastic lives. You can focus on the negative and feel like your life is negative or, with the same amount of effort and focus, you can focus on the positive and feel like your life is great. Balance allows you to accept the bad while still focusing on and appreciating the good.

Adaptability, because you are going to experience changes. Your environment is prone to change. There will be times when you are not in control of where you end up. Adaptability allows you to take on unexpected changes without breaking you mentally. It allows you to not get too used to what you have because of the possibility of change.

Acceptance, because there are some things that you cannot change. Things you deem important will be taken away from you and you will not be able to get them back. Focusing on what’s been lost will only hinder you from moving along on your journey. You can’t move forward with your back turned.

Self-sufficiency, because you are not in control of those around you. To depend on someone is to let their mind dictate what happens to a certain aspect of your life. Although you may not be in control of everything around you, you are in control of yourself. To place your happiness in someone else, for example, means that your happiness is given to you by their mercy, at their convenience. Self-sufficiency allows you to give yourself the things you need.

Through these five keys, tranquility is achieved. They are not instantly gained, they are practiced. You are given lessons and these lessons can be used to build you up or tear you down, depending on whether or not you recognize them. Practice them.

Practice patience when you are experiencing writers block. Know that ideas will come to you. They always do.

Practice balance when you have a bad day. Things may not have gone your way, but you’ve had 6 other good days this week.

Practice adaptability when you lose your colored pencils but you’ve got an unopened box of colored pens that you’re scared to open. Learn how to use them.

Practice acceptance when the coffee shop you go to every morning closes down. Accept that it’s gone and begin the search for a new one.

Practice self-sufficiency when your social plans fall through. Decide on how you’re gonna have fun by yourself.

The most important thing to do in times of stress is to look at the big picture: this is only a small part of your journey. What feels like your whole book could ultimately only count for a chapter, a page, a paragraph, a sentence. Look back on everything you’ve experienced thus far when you need a reminder that nothing is permanent.

You’re going to get through it, you’re going to figure it out — you always do.

If there was ever a time you didn’t end up getting through it, then you wouldn’t be where you are today.

You have everything you need.

Have a blessed day.

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