“You have power over your mind – not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.”Marcus Aurelius, Meditations
Most people know about Marcus Aurelius from the movie Gladiator, starring Russell Crowe.
But that portrayal of the philosopher-emperor is but a glimpse of what the actual figure was like in real-life.
When he was only seventeen, then emperor Hadrian would come to respect and admire Marcus, calling him verissimus, meaning most true and truthful.
Despite all the stress and turmoil he must have faced as the most powerful man during some of history’s most turbulent times, he somehow managed to live a life of virtue.
He did not only write philosophy. He embodied it. If Socrates was the wisest man to ever live, then Marcus Aurelius was the most virtuous.
And his advice can helps us all during these troubling times that we must face right now.
“The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts.”
In the current climate with the Coronavirus pandemic raging across the globe, the above quote is more relevant than ever.
It does not matter what goes on around us, all that matters is how we react to what happens to us.
That is our karma. How we react to external events, how we face challenges, how we overcome obstacles.
“When you arise in the morning think of what a privilege it is to be alive, to think, to enjoy, to love …”
Life, with its good and bad and ugly, is a wonderful thing. And we should spend as much time as we can appreciating it.
Life is beautiful. Without it, you’d be dead.
“The impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way.“
My motto these days is, “there’s opportunity in every adversity.”
Even when my income plummets because of a pandemic that I can’t do anything about.
But I can play these cards that I have been dealt by life as if they were the cards I’ve always wanted for.
And that’s what I am doing.
I am not frustrated, anxious, or sad. I am excited. I am doing my best to make the most out of this situation, and for the first time in my life I realize that everything we go through is also an opportunity to grow.
“Just that you do the right thing. The rest doesn’t matter.”
Now, as the world is in lock down, it’s our chance to do some good. To take care of those who need to be taken care of, even if this means avoiding contact with those most susceptible.
Now, more than ever, we should comfort the disturbed, pick others up, and speak words of hope to those who desperately want to hear them.
At the same time, we should not wish for praise, or for any sort of compensation for our good deeds.
I was appalled when I read an article about a Romanian doctor whose neighbors have forbidden to go to the neighborhood’s grocery store. Oh, and they threw disinfectant on their apartment door.
Think that you could do good, and not only no one thanks you for it, but you could be ridiculed, criticized, and so on.
You should do good anyway.
“Understand that your time has a limit set to it. Use it, then to advance your enlightenment; or it will be gone, and never in your power again.”
Now, more than ever, we should make use of our time.
Are you wasting time or seizing it?
Are you taking advantage of this time to do more than you did before, or are you just sitting on the couch watching Netflix and complaining about being locked down in your house?
And finally I live you with this quote, that we should never we should never fear pain, or suffering, or even death…
Instead, we should fear…
“…never beginning to live.”