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Unlock a Happy New Year: ‘Desiderata’ by Max Ehrmann, Patanjali’s 4 Keys to Peace

in YD News

As we close one year and begin another, our thoughts turn to reflections of the past and hopes for the future. This poem by Max Ehrmann (1927) reminds us how to stay on track to attain our true universal desire: happiness!

We are also reminded of Yoga Sutra 1.33 where Patanjali lays out the four keys to peace.

By cultivating attitudes of friendliness towards the happy, compassion for the unhappy, delight in the virtuous, and disregard toward the wicked, the mind stuff retains its undisturbed calmness.


— Max Ehrmann, 1927

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 vexations 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 not this 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.

Thanks to honored restorative yoga teacher Jillian Pransky for reminding us of this.

Serenity now! Peace, Love, YogaDork.



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  • 9 comments… add one
    • dayita

      I am old enough that I remember the record that was released of that poem back in the late 60s/early 70s. Thank you for the reminder.


    • Good one to remember, yes, cool 🙂

    • Eve

      That was read at my wedding–the marriage didn’t last but my belief in these words still holds! Makes me smile to read it again.

    • Elizabeth

      Hey YogaDork, when can we buy your “peace, love, om” t-shirt (with yogadork.com on the back of course)?

    • I adore this poem. Thanks for the reminder!

    • of war fire age hack longer time. Iowa is where she’s been in hibernation, or

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