What you are getting into: 651 words, 4mins read + 6mins video
Here, I will share my contemplations upon reading the published personal journal of Marcus Aurelius, a roman emperor from 161-180 AD. Thoughts mainly stemmed from Stoicism, and Marcus Aurelius used the notes for guidance and self improvement. It’s a translated book by Gregory Hays, or you can read it online.
For this and upcoming posts I attempt to dissect quotes I favour upon reading the book.
Photo via Pixabay
Keep in mind how fast things pass by and are gone — those that are now, and those to come. Existence flows past us like a river: the “what” is in constant flux, the “why” has a thousand variations. Nothing is stable, not even what’s right here. The infinity of past and future gapes before us — a chasm whose depths we cannot see.
So it would take an idiot to feel self-importance or distress. Or any indignation, either. As if the thing that irritate us lasted.
“Life follows where the river flows.” I came across this quote somewhere but can’t quite find it. Like a river, the source flows away from me. Like life, it’s always in constant flux. Like emotions, it will soon go away.
If only we are like the zen stones, sitting by the river bank, watching the water flowing by. Appreciating the source of life. Appreciating that we are blessed with a life. Appreciating a life full of experience. Why would we want to cause harm to others? Why do we seek out revenge or damage someone’s reputation? Why wouldn’t we be nice?
We can control our emotions. We can learn to tame our deepest desires. We can do it by acknowledging it. By understanding where the malicious thought came from. It must have come from somewhere. Are we hiding a wound so deep that the conscious mind rejects even the slightest acknowledgement that we are indeed, a little broken?
Even if we are a little broken, what gives us the permission to cause harm? Wouldn’t you agree that everyone else is a little broken, given the fact that everyone suffers some form of setbacks? If so, why are there people out there who still believes in humanity? We say we have faith in humanity, then take out a pen and paper, write down 3 things you did in the last 3 months as an act of kindness.
Marcus Aurelius labels people who feel self-importance, distress, or indignation as idiots. I think there’s some truth to it.
- Self-importance: Narcissism gets you nowhere. The world don’t revolve around us. Nobody likes someone who is self-centred. Yes it’s hackneyed, but it’s true. We live in a world where isolation will drive us crazy, and narcissistic behaviour will make you an outcast.
- Distress: Why get caught up with worrying or anxiety? Don’t we already know the future is uncertain? What we can do is work on alleviating the uncomfortable feeling.
- Indignation: Nothing is fair. To assume all things should be fair is ignorance. But we can be fair to ourselves, by avoiding self provocation. We don’t have to be angry just because we think the situation is unfavourable. We can choose to remain calm and move on.
Next time when you feel anger rising, remember this, the emotions will pass. Change is the only constant. Everything in life is in constant flux. Everything is ephemeral. What we care now may not matter in years to come. Things that we hold onto dearly will cease to exist. Everything will end.
On days when you feel depressed to the core and want every single thing to end, remember this:
”This too, will pass.”
Live life. Suck the marrow out of life. Carpe Diem. Sleep feeling satisfied with everything you have done and wake up with excitement. Take heart in everything we have, right now, here, this very moment.
Watch this before you go off and live an amazing life.