“The things you think about determine the quality of your mind. Your soul takes on the color of your thoughts.”Marcus Aurelius – “Meditations” Book 5
If you want to, you can choose to see everything that happens to you as a coincidence, as some kind of cosmic accident. You can choose to see the Universe as completely indifferent to you, like a government or a corporation. You can choose to see yourself as completely separate to the almost 8 billion other people wandering around on this blue rock circling the sun.
Equally, if you want to, you can choose to see everything that happens to you as somehow fated to happen, as part of some grand plan with you at the centre. You can choose to see the Universe as unconditionally on your side. You can choose to see yourself as intimately connected to everybody else in the world, as one part of a whole, where you cannot harm another without harming yourself, and where your joy is the joy of the whole planet.
Neither is “right”. Neither is “wrong”. They’re all just choices. No more, no less.
And yet do you not think – as I do – that if you were to walk around with the first set of beliefs in your head, your experience of life would be drastically different to if it were the second set?
You might not get to choose everything that goes on in your world, but you do get to choose how you look at it, how you frame it. Why not do so it in a way that gives you joy, that makes you feel empowered, that makes you feel rich with life?
The time is going to pass anyway, why not choose to make it beautiful?
Given how often I liberate quotes from it to reinforce my ideas here, I can understand why you might think that, like Jeremy from Peep Show, I have only ever managed to get through one book in my entire life.
Of course, this is not true. I have read several books – one of them, incidentally, being “Mr Nice”, Jez’s favourite. But until something sucker punches me like Marcus Aurelius’ “Meditations”, I hope you can live with my incessant referencing of his work.