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Tuesday, 9 December 2014

The Serenity Prayer

The Serenity Prayer is a famous prayer attributed to the American theologian Reinhold Niebuhr. Perhaps the best known version of it is as follows:-

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference. 

A longer version continues with the words:-

Living one day at a time,
Enjoying one moment at a time,
Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace.

The prayer has been used by Alcoholics Anonymous and other 12 Step Programs as part of their approach.

Whilst it is a Christian prayer (and some versions include references to Jesus), the outlook of acceptance that it embodies, has I think, a lot in common with a buddhist or meditative philosophy of simple observation and acceptance.

It's a way of thinking that can be helpful if you find yourself in a situation where you seem to be bashing your head against a brick wall  or striving to achieve outcomes which are difficult or which may be beyond your control.

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