Alchemy of Calmness II

People have gone to great lengths to achieve the elusive state of being called calmness. They’ve surrendered, medicated, denied, avoided, distracted and withdrawn themselves to death, trying desperately to wrap their hands and heads around what appears to be a fleeting experience.

Calmness, like happiness, cannot be pasted on from the outside. It must emerge from the inside-out for it to be genuine and lasting. You cannot get it, in fact, you must open the tap within yourself, so that it can flow from its source deep within you. Most people end up struggling with the world around them in one way or another and in so doing develop unconscious and sticky habits of reaction that produce a nearly constant state of inner agitation.

Calmness refracts through your inner sea of glass into the world around you. If that great sea within and about you is choppy and uncertain, so too will be your expression. Whenever your heart is troubled and or your mind is inflexible and colored by prejudice, wisdom, perspective, vision and your sense of timing will not, cannot and thankfully do not come to your assistance. You are rendered impotent by agitation.

Here is what editor and essayist William George Jordan had to say on the matter…

“Calmness comes ever from within. It is the peace and restfulness of the depths of our nature. The fury of storm and of wind agitate only the surface of the sea; they can penetrate only two or three hundred feet,–below that is the calm, unruffled deep. To be ready for the great crises of life we must learn serenity in our daily living. Calmness is the crown of self-control.

When the worries and cares of the day fret you, and begin to wear upon you, and you chafe under the friction,–be calm. Stop, rest for a moment, and let calmness and peace assert themselves. If you let these irritating outside influences get the better of you, you are confessing your inferiority to them, by permitting them to dominate you. Study the disturbing elements, each by itself, bring all the will power of your nature to bear upon them, and you will find that they will, one by one, melt into nothingness, like vapors fading before the sun. The glow of calmness that will then pervade your mind, the tingling sensation of an inflow of new strength, may be to you the beginning of the revelation of the supreme calmness that is possible for you. Then, in some great hour of your life, when you stand face to face with some awful trial, when the structure of your ambition and life-work crumbles in a moment, you will be brave. You can then fold your arms calmly, look out undismayed and undaunted upon the ashes of your hope, upon the wreck of what you have faithfully built, and with brave heart and unfaltering voice you may say: ‘So let it be,–I will build again.'”

Take care to keep your crown of self-control fastened firmly upon your head. Those uninitiated in the alchemy of calmness tend to allow themselves to become upset at the drop of a dime and they are hard to miss. They wave their crowns violently in the faces of those people and circumstances that stand in the way of their goals and desires. Some even go to the extent of throwing their crowns when the world begins to wear on them, yet in so doing they relinquish the most important weapon in their arsenal: calmness.

Practice in the little things, that you may be ready for the large. You must be deliberate for man has come to accept a virtually uninterrupted experience of agitation and can hardly imagine the still yet powerful state of being known as calmness.

Study the disturbing elements, each by itself, bring all the will power of your nature to bear upon them, and you will find that they will, one by one, melt into nothingness, like vapors fading before the sun.”

11 thoughts on “Alchemy of Calmness II

  1. Andrea

    Gregg, some days you know just what to say… “You can then fold your arms calmly, look out undismayed and undaunted upon the ashes of your hope, upon the wreck of what you have faithfully built, and with brave heart and unfaltering voice you may say: ‘So let it be,–I will build again.”

    That brought a few tears. Thank you. (On an interesting side note, I’m discovering within myself the fact that sometimes the “Control” that I think I have and choose to assert is merely an illusion built out of fear. Self control based on calm introspection and new found knowledge that the ripples that my “Fear based control tactics” cause are neither healthy nor wanted in my future self. This is a very hard lesson to grow through – frightening in its own right. But … it’s what I both want and need.)

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  2. Fernando

    I think this describes the epitome of both the dignity and power inherent in ourselves – clearly in thinking this through, you can be above your circumstance; you need not be defined by it or identified to it. So what if things get ugly from time to time – we’re all facing and going to continue to face various ill-conceived pressures from multiple angles. Knowing that there is a greater pressure of this calmness you speak of that resides within each of us and exercising its power is the only way that things can change for the better. I gather that the force of the will can always build again as that is what it’s inclined to do given half a chance.
    Great stuff here – looking forward to tomorrow!

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    1. Gregg Hake

      You can indeed be “above” your circumstance, in the sense that you can be both in the middle of it but not subject to it.

      Great point Fernando!

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  3. Isabelle

    What an excellent follow up to yesterday’s post. In such a crazy world, where people get agitated at the drop of a hat, it’s nice to know that there are those who are interested in doing just the opposite. Thanks for sharing these texts with us and your continual support to your readers to reach greatness for ourselves.

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  4. Coco

    Excellent words, thank you. I love the word alchemy in relationship to calmness. A practiced calmness can transform our lives, experiences and our creative value.
    I can imagine a totally liberating experience. I will take these words to heart.

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  5. Clara B.

    That statement “So let it be, I will build again” is empowering. Thanks for the reminder, and the keys to back it up, so that the power of our crowns aren’t wasted no matter what comes our way.

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  6. Colin

    I thought the point you made regarding how lack of calm renders you impotent was a key here. When faced by a troubling issue, are you willing to admit that the issue itself is bigger and better than you? Because that is what you are doing when you give up self control to a circumstance. I am not ready to admit that any issue I face is better than me based on an initial impression, or a further impression. There is literally no reason to give up your calmness.

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