“You have power over your mind-not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.” – Marcus Aurelius (Roman Emperor- 121-180 AD)
Marcus Aurelius is considered as one of the greatest Roman Emperors. His writings called as Meditations is revered today as a philosophical monument. In this book he describes how one could find peace and stability even amidst conflicts. Interestingly Aurelius wrote this during 170-180 AD- when he led the most intense campaigns and wars against the Germans and Parthian empires.
Moral of the story: Peace and stability has to be sought in a battle field. There is no utopia here.
The world within and without us is filled with a war like situation, day in day out. Instead of escaping conflicts, let’s face them bravely.
And how do we do that?
Learn from the ocean waves
How do you face the surging waves in an ocean? If you are a swimmer, and prefer neck deep waters, and want to truly enjoy, you’d likely find the waves inviting. Yet you could be unsure of how to negotiate them.
If you turn your back towards the waves, you’d never know when a breaking wave would hit your bones, or throw you off to the shore. If you fight them bravely, you’d be frustrated when huge waves plunge with downward force. In no time you’d discover your puny existence in face of the enormous ocean. The way out is get smart- don’t fight them, don’t run away from them; just negotiate the waves.
Stand sideways with your feet wide apart. As the waves come close, jump high or swim over them. Riding the crest would thrill you, and you could see back at your friends on the shore thrown away. And if the wave breaks in front of you, dive under the water with your arms in front. After it passes, you’d rise again to see the spectacular display back on the shore. It’s fun if you can recognize the wave, and either rise above or dive below it. You’d likely spend hours that way on the beach. There’s hardly anything as exciting!
There’s something more exhilarating though: dodging the crazy, gushing waves of the mind!
While you could say ‘No’ for a swim on the ocean, you have no choice when the waves of desires lash out. You are perforce trapped in an ocean called the mind- you could either curse your fate, or seize the opportunity to blossom; you could be a rare, beautiful rose in this wild sea of turbulent emotions and stormy desires.
To be continued…