Having Only Thoughts You Are Not Ashamed Of

Hello, everyone!

Check out this great passage from Meditations, by Marcus Aurelius, the Roman Emperor (and forgive if you will the male pronouns):

“Do not waste the balance of life left to you in thoughts about other persons, when you are not referring to some advantage of your fellows—for why do you rob yourself of something else which you might do? Why would you imagine to yourself what so and so is doing, and why; what he is saying or thinking or planning, and every thought of the kind which leads you astray from close watch over your governing self?

Rather you must, in the train of your thoughts, avoid what is merely casual and without purpose, and above all curiosity and malice; you must habituate yourself only to thoughts about which if some one were suddenly to ask: ‘What is in your mind now?’, you would at once reply, quite frankly, this or that; and so from the answer it would immediately be plain that all was simplicity and kindness, the thoughts of a social being, who disregards pleasurable, or to speak more generally luxurious imaginings or rivalry of any kind, or envy and suspicion or anything else about which you would blush to put into words that you had it in your head.

A man so minded, putting off no longer to be one of the elect, is surely a priest and minister of gods, employing aright that which is seated within him, which makes the mere mortal to be unstained by pleasures, unscathed by any pain, untouched by any wrong, unconscious of any wickedness; a wrestler in the greatest contest of all, not to be overthrown by any passion; dyed with justice to the core, welcoming with his whole heart all that comes to pass and is assigned to him; seldom and only under some great necessity and for the common good imagining what another person is saying or doing or thinking. For he has only his own work to realize and he keeps in mind continually what is assigned to him from the Whole;—his work he makes perfect, his lot he is convinced is good; for the birth-spirit assigned to every man goes with him and carries him along with it.

Moreover, he remembers that all reasonable beings are akin to himself, and that although to care for all men is in accord with man’s nature, he is to cling not to the opinion of all men, but only of men who live in accord with Nature. Indeed, he remembers continually what those who do not so live are like, in their homes and abroad, by night and by day; what manner of men they are, and those with whom they defile themselves. Therefore he takes no account even of the praise of such men,—men who are not even acceptable to themselves.”

Oh my gosh, isn’t that wonderful?!!!! I especially enjoy the encouragement to entertain only such thoughts as you would gladly share with others, with no shame or self-consciousness. Something to aspire to, for sure!

Be well, friends. Let us live fully on this day! And let us live as Marcus recommends, and be in our own way a “minister of gods”.

In peace,