There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his
own mind, especially if he has within himself the kind of thoughts that let him dip into them and so
at once gain complete ease of mind; and by ease of mind, I mean nothing but having one’s own
mind in good order. – Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, 4.3
Sounds easy, doesn’t it? Well, I’ll have you know (I’m sure you did already) that it’s not. But, it still fascinates me every time I read such a quote about harnessing true happiness from within. There was a time when I just didn’t buy into this. How can I be happy when I don’t have the house, the car, the girl, the good job, the social life, the body, the holiday, the latest gadget, the likes and comments on my Facebook pics? That’s a long list right there and I certainly don’t tick all the boxes. And what if I did? If I had it all? I’d probably freak out, to be honest. If all these things were going my way, I’d be suspicious. Would I be a good person? Would I treat my wife right? Would she be happy? Would we get divorced? What if I lose my job and can’t make payments? Or if I work too much and my wife makes friends with the milkman? I should check her phone when I get home. She’s up to something, I know it.
What if I have none of it? What if I’m homeless? Will I freeze to death tonight? Will anyone remember me? What then? Beg for money? Rob people? I’d be better off in prison with a bed and three meals a day. I probably need to stand up for myself in there. What if I get shanked with a razor blade on a toothbrush?
There are a billion ways life can go wrong depending on what you expect from it. It’s easy to get torn apart by stresses and worries which lead to destructive behavior; paranoia, anxiety, drug/alcohol abuse, being nasty to the ones close to you.
All these external things. Attached to hopes and fears like a puppet. Except there is no puppet master? The strings themselves can take control if you’re unaware of them, make a nice little tangled mess. It’s sad to think of people living whole lives under the influence of attachments. It’s how I’ve spent most of mine. How about yours?
It’s a powerful thought then, to know that organizing your thoughts, realizing what’s really under your control and what’s not, can give you enormous freedom and peace of mind from within. Cutting the strings of attachment. That would be a nice mind to have, a sanctuary from where you can grow into a better person.
I’m not there yet, but It’s where I’d like to be.