“Soon you’ll be ashes or bones. A mere name at most–and even that is just a sound, an echo. The things we want in life are empty, stale, and trivial”
-Marcus Aurelius, The Meditations
Emperor with a moral conscience
The Emperor Marcus Aurelius is remembered by history as perhaps the greatest leader to govern the Roman Empire. His unedited and astute observations of human nature and the human condition, captured in his Meditations, are still regarded by scholars as being among the clearest treatise on right living. In many ways he was an ascetic, given to Spartan living, and although controlling a vast empire, aware of the pitfalls of wealth. He understood good decision making and right living stem from discipline and clarity. It is only when we see clearly, and the distortion falls away, that the consequences of our decisions, and the effects on us of others decisions, present within themselves a straight path to resolution and peace.
You may ask, “What is the price of this unerring approach to our business and personal life?” I must ask, what is the cost of a good night’s sleep, a noble reputation, and a worthy legacy?
In overcoming fear and disappointment, we have an opportunity to find deep and far reaching solutions for the challenges in our lives. These solutions don’t lie on the surface of life screaming for an audience, they burrow into hillsides, hiding, as it were, from reason and understanding. Often our answers appear in the form of a problem, or maybe even a distraction or event, a person or a place, acting as shape-shifters, eluding detection at all cost, solutions unplanned and unintended by our own set of rules and misnomers.
Answers come when we least expect them, and often with very little effort, but, they remain hidden forever if we are blind to the divine help wishing to afford us freedom from our circumstances. We have very little hope if we are unwilling to adjust expectations, purify motive, and align ourselves with the universally cooperative host of heaven, anxious for our success.
True wisdom is found when knowledge is married to understanding, seen through experience, articulated with discretion, and applied through a type of intuition wrought from quiet, steady contemplation; and then, and only then, is finding solutions to these life problems possible. In short, it has been my experience, that we are our own worst enemies.
Fortunately for us, help is where you find it…