Jail Lesson: Don’t Trade Your Serenity

What follows is a series of encounters I had while working as a mental health clinician at a regional jail, the location of which I shall leave undisclosed. I was teaching a class on Serenity and explaining how that, since it was a spiritual concept, it was not relegated to physical circumstances. I stated that one could experience Serenity no matter in what situation he found himself, if he simply meditated on Truth and allowed the Truth to override his limited understanding.

The following week, one student stated that he had, in fact, found Serenity while in jail. He related how he had been reading his Bible and had arrived at the conclusion that God was in control of his situation and could release him at any time should He see fit to do so. “So what happened” I asked. He stated that he had awakened early one morning in order to get a hot shower. He related that showering alone is a luxury in jail and is something which he relished. He went on to explain that when he entered the shower, he discovered that someone had “taken a dump” in the middle of the room. “Of all the things,” he moaned, “We are all in the same boat in here, just trying to get by the best we can and someone is so inconsiderate…” He said; “I just lost it”. I asked, “what happened to the Serenity?” “Did it leave?”; “Did it change?”. “No” he replied. “So what you’re telling me…”, I stated, “is that you traded your Serenity for a pile of shit.” “I guess”, he said, “but I really didn’t look at it that way”.

When it comes down to it, anything for which we trade our Serenity amounts to a pile of shit. Serenity focuses on that which is truly valuable. Spiritual matters, relationships, our sense of self worth, purpose and value, the every-day provision of the Universe for our peace, joy and happiness are all high priority items which deserve our attention. We often allow lesser concerns such as bills, material possessions and what others think to occupy our thoughts and attention. Often what is needed is to simply lift our eyes off of our current circumstances and allow our Spirit to change our focus to the bigger picture of the Universe and our place within it.

Granted, some situations are more difficult than others, and there are some conditions where it may be impossible not to worry such as the illness of a loved one, job loss or possibly an accident. However, some of these situations may actually have been sent by the Universe to help us get things in proper perspective. Not to say that all circumstances are orchestrated to guide us or that “everything happens for a reason”. It’s like Buddha once said, “shit happens” (or maybe it was Confucius). At any rate, it is easy to lose sight of what is truly important and lose our Joy over small, insignificant, trivial matters which may seem big at the time but in light of the bigger picture are actually worthless.


Published by Rick George

Had someone noticed when I was younger, I may have been diagnosed with ADHD and been put on medication. Fortunately that never happened. No, it hasn't been fun and my life has been quite turbulent as a result but I have had a unique vantage point and I have a feeling that it is about to pay off.

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