Tranquility is defined as “an untroubled state free from disturbances” or “a state of peace and quiet”, but the definition I like best – especially considering the current state of our world – is “steadiness of mind under stress”.

That definition captures the dynamic tranquility that Rudolph M. Ballantine was referring to when he said,

Tranquility should not be confused with passivity or apathy. It is, rather, a dynamic quality of balance and harmony. As love is the outward flowing of energy in selflessness, and joy is the experience of accepting the natural divinity of all life, tranquility is the experience we have when we know and accept ourselves for who and what we are.

We can’t control the news, the weather, the virus, the people we live with, or any number of things I could name. We can’t change the family we were born into, the choices we made in the past, the body we were given, or the age we are today. Any one of these could easily threaten our tranquility if we imagined that state to be one totally free of disturbance. But in fact, disturbances are natural. Emotions are inevitable. Anger and grief are human. And they are almost unavoidable right now.

The question is, can we acknowledge and accept them? The more awareness we can bring to who and what we are at any given moment – and the more willing and able we are to feel those “disturbed” parts of us – the less we are apt to harm ourselves with judgmental thoughts that we should be in a perfect (and elusive) state of peace and quiet.

My mind is frequently agitated these days. I often find myself restless, irritated, impatient, sad, but these momentary peaks and valleys don’t threaten my inner state of balance and harmony when I can accept them as a natural part of being human.

If we wish the world were a kinder place we can start by offering the kindness we seek to ourselves. Once we get a taste of that self-acceptance and witness its gifts, we’re better able – and more apt – to offer it to others. Kindness begets kindness. Acceptance begets acceptance. And that’s how we can create a kinder, more unified world – with one moment of acceptance at a time.

Image: Golden Bridge, Bà Nà Hills, Vietnam