The Serenity Prayer as a Stoic Meditation

Most days, I believe in a deity. Some days, I don’t. When I do believe in a deity, that doesn’t mean I accept all the trappings of a specific religion.

I mostly align myself with Stoicism, an Ancient Greek philosophy that can help you be happy and well-adjusted no matter your station in life.

Today, I thought about the Serenity Prayer. I grew up knowing it because I was raised in a Christian household. But it struck me today that the Serenity Prayer could be used as a Stoic meditation.

The Serenity Prayer 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.”

Previously, I blogged about how Stoicism does not entail quietism. Yet, according to Stoics, the are things called externals that are beyond our control. The wise person will not let things outside of their control affect them negatively. Thus, the Serenity Prayer is useful as a Stoic meditation because it focuses on what we can and cannot change and asks for the wisdom to know the difference.

It’s important to know that, according to both Stoics and the Serenity Prayer, there are things that can be changed. The Serenity Prayer asks for courage to change things.

When I was in counseling, I learned a western form of meditation in which you fill your mind with quotes, passages, and other important things. You take several minutes just to focus on the quote or passage. I think the Serenity Prayer could be a useful thing to meditate on. You can use it whether you believe in a deity or not.

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