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Go Placidly Amid the Noise and Haste

--by Max Ehrmann (Jul 25, 2006)


Go placidly amid the noise and the haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.

As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story. Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are vexatious to the spirit.

If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism. Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love, for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment, it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be. And whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.


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On Dec 23, 2016 Timi wrote:

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 HOW I GET A LOAN HELP @ 2% INTEREST RATE With victoriafinancier@outlook.com

 My son was on hospital bed for surgery that involve huge money and i also needed some money to refinance and get a good home then i have to seeks for Assistance from friends and when there was no hope any more i decide to go online to seek a loan and i find VICTORIA LAWSON Trust Loan Firm (victoriafinancier@outlook.com) with 2% interest Rate and applied immediately with my details as directed. Within seven Days of my application She wired my loan amount with No hidden charges and i could take care of my son medical bills, Renew my rent bill and pay off my debt. I will advice every loan seeker to contact VICTORIA LAWSON LOAN Company with victoriafinancier@outlook.com For easy and safe transaction.

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On Aug 30, 2016 Mary E. wrote:

 This poem was circulating in the ealry 70's and was very grounding to me during a time of great personal and social change - Drug Miusic culture (Joplin, Hendrix )and post Vietnam War....  The impact still resonates with me this day...
Mary E.



On Jul 7, 2016 Ernesto CĂ©sar wrote:

 Be and let be.



On Mar 28, 2016 Debra wrote:

 I recall hearing the 'spoken word' version of this back in the 70's.  It was recorded by Les Crane, and
won a Grammy in 1971 for the Spoken Word category.   LOVED this for YEARS !!!!  
Here's a link to a video of Les Crane speaking it..... 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1uVeilqHWZ4



On Mar 18, 2016 Dawn wrote:

 This was recommended for me to read as I being a poet allows me to embrace the journey.  It is the beauty of stillness that gives me peace to see the world on such a magnificent level of life.  I will cherish this poem...



On Jan 13, 2016 Maureen wrote:

 This poem brings back memories. I discovered it somehow when I was in high school, and fell in love with it: the beautiful yet simple wording, the casual way it imparted great truth and wisdom. Like Ruth who commented here in 2014, it helped through my difficult teenage years. I remember the title was "Desiderata". 



On Oct 30, 2015 Brinsy Nickie wrote:

 



On Oct 29, 2015 Keisha wrote:

 I heard this today and had not heard it in a long time. And it reminded me of the beauty in life.



On Aug 17, 2015 Gilbert J Nchenesi wrote:

 



On Jul 23, 2014 Kehaulani wrote:

 The Beauty of Desiderata...Its Essence to be the Fullness of MY Breath....thus I strive



On Jun 30, 2014 Ruth Bloink wrote:

This helped me through so many bad times as a teenager and in college. Maybe it will help some  teens today that have never read this. It was beautiful then and is beautiful still.



On Nov 14, 2013 CB wrote:

The Desiderata always completes me particularly when at my lowest end. So serene, so calming, so strengthening. What beautiful words! 



On Aug 11, 2013 Lisa wrote:

 This poem was shared at a gathering of amazing women I was lucky enough to be invited to...it is a favorite!



On May 19, 2013 olin wrote:

have it own my bedroom wall. 



On Apr 6, 2013 Peace wrote:

 hi, I am going through a month of peace and few spiritual practices - like meditation every morning and evening 1 hr each, 3 meals a day and keeping life simple & avoiding distractions, reading 1 awakin reading a day and being quiet when not required to speak. These have been doing wonders for me. I am quite in sync with this passage and agree that peace is so much important in life. You can just communicate so well , listen better and get heard. No need of shouting, being forceful, they cannot stand before the magic of peace. You get respect as well along with happiness.
Hope some of you would like to try some practices and benefit too. Blessings.



On Dec 3, 2012 Jude wrote:
Loving and remembering the light of Dan and John 

On Nov 23, 2012 Tamilyn wrote:
 Desiderata!!! :) my all time favorite poem ..kind of like my lords prayer ...it hangs on my rear view mirror my fridge and wall ... i know it almost by heart ....

On Sep 15, 2011 irene douglas wrote:

I HAVE WHAT SEEMS AN ORIGINAL, NO SIGNATURE, JUST SAYING FOUND IN ST PAULS CHURCH. BALTIMORE IN 1692. I FOUND IT AMONG MY LATE MOMS PERSONAL THINGS..

It is beautiful..

 

Irene Douglas



1 reply: Toni | Post Your Reply
On Jul 11, 2010 don churchill wrote:

wonderful sentiments, should be carved on stone tablets, issued at birth & hung around one's neck.



On Jun 26, 2008 nandhini wrote:
This poem is reflected in our brand. Daxnetworks ..go placidly. We all have a copy of this poem,and its one of the deliverables that we give to our customers.

On Sep 24, 2007 The Evan wrote:
I loved it a true tour de force, i was touched in more ways than one. I am sharing this with all my friends and family and hopefully it will change them some what or have a vital impact on them as well.

On Jul 28, 2006 Pavi wrote:

Notes From A Circle of Sharing: To relate the quote to my own life- I’ve been working for this new company at a new job and it’s been interesting to see how I’ve been put in positions where I’m expected to know what others don’t- there’s a pressure that comes from that- and the realization that in order to be useful you have to essentially ‘go placid’- and learn to have faith in what’s unfolding. Also that part about taking counsel from the years- it recently occurred to me in this way when I was doing dishes and asked my wife if she felt like she’d ‘arrived’- she asked me the same question back, and in that moment, I actually did. And maybe ‘taking counsel from the years’ is really about - re-arriving in every moment. Which reminds me of the ‘Waking Life’ quote: “ The idea is to remain in a state of constant departure, while always arriving- saves on introductions and goodbyes.” To me happiness isn’t something to be pursued- it’s someth  See full.

Notes From A Circle of Sharing:


To relate the quote to my own life- I’ve been working for this new company at a new job and it’s been interesting to see how I’ve been put in positions where I’m expected to know what others don’t- there’s a pressure that comes from that- and the realization that in order to be useful you have to essentially ‘go placid’- and learn to have faith in what’s unfolding.

Also that part about taking counsel from the years- it recently occurred to me in this way when I was doing dishes and asked my wife if she felt like she’d ‘arrived’- she asked me the same question back, and in that moment, I actually did. And maybe ‘taking counsel from the years’ is really about - re-arriving in every moment. Which reminds me of the ‘Waking Life’ quote: “ The idea is to remain in a state of constant departure, while always arriving- saves on introductions and goodbyes.”


  • To me happiness isn’t something to be pursued- it’s something that ensues. There’s lots of fixation over wanting to ‘be happy’. Seeking it outside. The part of the passage that stayed with me was the part that says- ‘Be peaceful’. Peace is a state of being from which one can allow things to pass through- whether it’s happiness or sadness. And that state is more valuable than trying to seek happiness.

  • Inspite of broken dreams and everything ‘it’s still a beautiful world’ I really like that.


  • One of the things you do most often- that you know you do- is comparing yourself to other people- it’s conscious. It seems like there's pressure to act a certain way. And when you're a teenager you're not sure sometimes whether you’re supposed to act like a kid or an adult- so not comparing is about being yourself not trying to be what you're “supposed to"

  • This reminds me of a story: Avery dedicated student goes to a monk to find peace. And the monk says to him- “I’m not who you're looking for,” and he tells him to go visit a certain king. The student is disappointed but he goes and he finds the king is busy with various cultural festivities being held. But the king gives him his chariot to travel around town in for two weeks and says- “Just do me this one favor- take this lamp with you as you travel around and enjoy the sights and just make sure it doesn’t blow out”. Two weeks later the student returns and the king asks him- “So how was the party?” And the student replies, “What party? You gave me this task- and all I know is the lamp is still on!” Shows you that peace doesn't depend on what’s happening outside.

  • Several weeks ago I went to visit my parents, they’ve just moved back to the States and they were taking things out of storage that had been in storage for 8 years. They had me go through boxes and boxes of this “noise” if you will- boxes of stuff that was just marked Boy’s Room Boy's Room Boy’s Room. Things from all the way back in kindergarten and all the years after that- basically my whole life in these boxes and I had to sort through them and decide what to keep and what to let go of. How to decide what to keep- I threw away so much stuff- it was an exercise in finding peace.

  • To me happiness is talking to my mom. For my peers talking to your mom includes gossip- did you wash your clothes, and that kind of stuff- but this morning on the phone she goes- “Whichever part of the body there is pain- the pain is felt only in the brain”.

  • This quote touched me in so many ways. I love the focus on placidity. When I am that things feel richer and better.

  • Every single line is a gem. You find yourself going- Wow. Wow. Wow. I especially loved the line that said, “whether or not it is clear to you the universe is unfolding as it should.”

  • I liked the part about going easy on yourself. I’m my own worst critic and the harder I am on myself the harder I am on everyone around me.

  • Happiness lies in what other people perceive of you. How do you get over thinking like this?

  • I really liked this quote because it was optimistic but not preachy, I found myself thinking about what a balanced state of mind he must have been in to write this. I was reminded of a time when Bo Lozoff was visiting and we were having dinner. He was telling us about a 40-day retreat that he had done and at one point he said it was so intense so that all he could do was- pray. I asked him what he prayed for- and he said that he didn’t harm anyone. I thought that was such an interesting way of looking at prayer. Generally there is a selfish element to it. Recently that’s something I’ve been asking myself- is I really consciously living? Are there negative ramifications to any of my thoughts, speech or actions?

  • This world is a beautiful place.... In California we don't see it because we’re so busy commuting, thinking of work and all that- my cousin came to visit and since he was driving I got to see what the bay area looked like. I told him “Hey I’ve never seen those hills before!” I’ve tried to notice more and more things since then...and I realize that I notice more when I’m not thinking of other things- or when I’m silent.

  • About the comparisons that are a problem that’s not going to go away because this society is based on comparisons. When you apply for a job or to college or make an offer for a house you’re going to be compared with others. It’s foolish to ignore that reality. But the way I see it- everyone is not better than you in every single respect. Each of us is better in one way or the other- health or service etc. So we’re free to choose one or two fields of endeavor to excel in.

  • The part about listening resonated with me. Everyone has a story no matter who they are- the other day on quote-a-day I got so engrossed in reading about the biography project- everyone really does have a story.

  • “Strive to be happy,” he says. As a father and pet owner I see two creatures in my house everyday who aren't striving for happiness at all- they just- Are. We all had that ability at one point and then we lost it along the way. I think it’s not about striving to be something- it's about dropping things to get back to that natural state that we all have.

  • Such an honest, simple approach. A real contrast to most of the thoughts we read with their eloquently worded, philosophical musings. This was very direct and I was reminded of the last lines of one of Robert Frost’s poems. “The woods are lovely dark and deep, But I have promises to keep. And miles to go before I sleep. And miles to go before I sleep.” I found myself wondering how this writer would have phrased the same thing- probably something like; “Don’t get distracted. Be serious in your work.”

  • If happiness was really All in the mind then we'd just all lie down right where we were wouldn’t we, and be dead in three weeks from not eating.

  • Dogs can teach you what happiness is.

  • My happiest moment is being here.

  • The passage reminds me of a quote: “There is no way to happiness. Happiness is the way”.

  • I really like the part where he says you’re a child of the universe; you have a right to be here, like a tree, or a flower- that was reassuring. A lot of times we would go into some secluded woods- some national forest and I would get this feeling that the trees deserved to be there but somehow I was out of place. I was trying to think why that feeling arose in me and I think maybe coming from a populous country like India where there is a one-child norm- I’m the second child. And I always wondered why my parents had me. So this is good- to know I have a right to be here. And the other thing that came to me after reading this passage was that- I think if I could feel and believe and act like the universe was unfolding the way it should maybe then it becomes true not just for us- but for others around us.

  • There is a story about a generous man who would always cast his eyes down when placing food in another person’s hand. People used to wonder why he acted so ashamed of his generosity. And one day Tulsidas asks him why and he answered that it was because it wasn’t he that was giving but the Lord giving through him. “I look down because I am grateful to be a means of giving”. This passage reminded me of treating everyone like that- because you don’t know who is coming to you as the Lord.

  • The very first line really struck me. It brought to mind a performance I was at recently. It started at 7pm after work, in this big room where people were gathered; it was bustling with energy, so much so that when the performers came in no one noticed. There were three of them and they entered from different angles, with a quiet kind of stillness and made their way across the room- and by the time they had reached the stage the room was quiet. Through silence, their gestures and art they’d somehow imposed placidity on this whole group of people and it made me think of what kind of impact we can have on other people through how we present ourselves.

  • I think we have limited vision- do we really know what is bad and good for us? It’s best not to label. As for beauty unfolding I think we should see that beauty in every individual we encounter and in all different events in our life, we should feel it even with our enemies- and that would maybe be a confirmation that we are in a truly balanced state of mind.

  • Happiness is being in the moment with no past or future.

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On Jul 27, 2006 richard mbaabu wrote:
Thanks for your inspirations .never leave tomorrow as if today is still looming .remember God always walks with those daring to a step into the unstepped turfs

On Jul 25, 2006 seema wrote:
This one's completely amazing
it speaks very directly to me

On Jul 25, 2006 Jesse wrote:
This poem is also referred to as 'Desiderata', for those familiar with that piece of work.

In some reference books, Desiderata is still sometimes thought to have been 'found' at Old St. Paul's Church in Baltimore and to date back to 1692. It was actually written by Max Ehrmann and copyrighted by him in 1927, the copyright was renewed in 1954 by Bertha K. Ehrmann.

On Jul 25, 2006 David Dupree wrote:
One of your meditations was forwarded to me.