If I believed in coincidences, I'd tell you that I picked up this book called "The Emperor's Handbook" by Marcus Aurelius, A New Translation of the Meditations by C. Scot Hicks and David V. Hicks by accident, but I don't believe it. I was strolling through Barnes and Nobles and just happened to pull this book out of the thousands that were there and began reading. I was in awe of the information and life changing quotes that were packed in this small book. It was the first book that sparked a curiosity for more answers because of it's powerful message. This is no novel with a story, it's just a book with bullet points and amazing quotations similar to the one in the photo attached to this blog. Let's first point out that this book was never meant to be published, it was the thoughts of a great thinker written as if it were a diary, but only pertaining to his thoughts. I'm not going to give you a history lesson on Marcus Aurelius, but I'm going to share with you some of his thoughts which may in turn change yours.
Most of the present day thinkers seem to expand on the same message that Aurelius documented 2000 yrs ago. He was ahead of his time, without a doubt.
Here's what lit the lamp:
- "Not knowing what other people are thinking is not the cause of much human misery, but failing to understand the workings of one's own mind is bound to lead to unhappiness." Basically, once you understand that you are in full control of your thoughts, you can choose to live the happy life that you want. It's not what others think, rather it's what you think (or don't think).
-"Purge your mind of all aimless and idle thoughts, especially those that pry into the affairs of others or wish them ill." A silent mind is absent from stress and anxiety. "Get in the habit of limiting yourself only to those thoughts that-if you are suddenly asked, "What are you thinking at this moment?" - enable you to reply without equivocation or hesitation, "This" or "That". In this way, you show the world a simple and kindly man, a good neighbor, someone who is indifferent to sensual pleasures and luxuries and untouched by jealousy, envy, mistrust, or any other thought you would blush to admit"
-"There is no present advantage in anything that may someday force you to break your word, or to lose respect for yourself, or to hate, suspect, or curse another, or to pretend to be other than what you are, or to lust after what you'd be ashamed to seek openly. The man who gives pride of place to reason and to his indwelling spirit and remains the devoted servant of each-plays no parts, utters no complaints, and craves neither the wilderness nor the crowd. In fact, he lives without pursuing or fleeing anything at all."
-"We live only in the present, in this fleet-footed moment. The rest is lost and behind us, or ahead of us and may never be found."
-"Trouble comes from the mind's opinion of what lies outside it; and second, that everything you now see will change in a moment and soon be no more."
-"I hear you say, "How unlucky that this should happen to me!" Not at all: Say instead, "How lucky that I am not broken by what has happened and am not afraid of what is about to happen."
-"Nothing ever happens to a man that he is not equipped by nature to endure."
-"Bear in mind that the measure of a man is the worth of the things he cares about."
-"Don't fear the future. You will face it, if that is your fate, armed with the same reason that protects and guides you in the present."
-"The mind, as an instrument of reason, lacks nothing, except what it might imagine itself to lack. Consequently, if it refuses to create troubles and impediments for itself, it cannot be troubled or impeded."
-"Don't hanker after what you don't have. Instead, fix your attentions on the finest and best that you have, and imagine how much you would long for these if they weren't in your possession. At the same time, don't become so attached to these things that you would be distraught if you were to lose them."
-"To live each day as if it were your last without speeding up or slowing down or pretending to be other than what you are-this is perfection of character."
I love this one;
-"When you have done something well and someone else has benefited from it, why do you crave yet a third reward, as fools do, who want to be thanked or to be repaid?"
-"If you're troubled by something outside yourself, it isn't the thing itself that bothers you, but your opinion of it, and this opinion you have the power to revoke immediately."
-"We must abstain from desire no matter what , and pay no attention to the things over which we have no influence or control."
-"Fear not that life will someday end; fear instead that a life in harmony with nature may never begin."
-"You are composed of three parts: the body, the breath of life, and the mind. The first two belong to you insofar as you must take care of them, but only the third is truly yours." Wow!
This is an incredible book and this is only a fraction of the quotes. I encourage you to explore it further as I enjoyed picking it up again and going through my highlights. An active mind is and anxious one, try calming it by staying present in the moment. My good ole friend Bill Larson used to say, "Stop during your busy day and just look around and see how beautiful everything is!" Please do so and please share this blog so everyone can BeneFIT!
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Scott Rusin is the Director of Physical Therapy at the Sandestin Executive Health & Wellness Center in Sandestin Resort, Miramar Beach, FL. He has a degree in Physical Therapy, is a Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) and Nike Golf NG360 Performance Specialist Powered by the Gray Institute.