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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Tilting at Windmills and slaying the Monsters

Today's reading from the Stoic writing was from Marcus Aurelius' Meditations.  What a blessing that private diary that was supposed to have been burnt has been in my life.  Today's reading was:


"CAST away from thee opinion, and thou art safe. And what is it that hinders thee from casting of it away? When thou art grieved at anything, hast thou forgotten that all things happen according to the Nature of the Universe; and that him only it concerns, who is in fault; and moreover, that what is now done, is that which from ever hath been done in the world, and will ever be done, and is now done everywhere: how nearly all men are allied one to another by a kindred not of blood, nor of seed, but of the same mind. ... that all things are but opinion; that no man lives properly, but that very instant of time which is now present. And therefore that no man whensoever he dieth can properly be said to lose any more, than an instant of time.

MARCUS AURELIUS. MEDITATIONS. Book xii. 19"

When we remember what is actually in our control and what is not we are able to put our efforts into the things that are in our control to change. Rather than tilting at windmills, we are able to actively craft a life that is in harmony with Nature and our Nature. Most of our frustrations in this life are caused by our inability to determine what we actually do have control over. We spend so much wasted effort trying to change the things that are totally out of our control. If we can let the things that are not in our control go, and focus on the things that are, we will be able to live in the moment.  We will experience many more moments of bliss than if we are constantly battling monsters that we have no control over. 
Imagine if we took all of that energy that we expand trying to change what is not in our control and put it into crafting a life. If we actively work on the things that we can change imagine what a joyful thing the moment and our lives would become.  When we focus on the appropriate things we can craft our life to be the life we have always wanted.  A life that is filled with joy and flourishing.