Live out your days in untroubled serenity…

Live out your days in untroubled serenity. Refuse to be coerced though the whole world deafens you with it’s demands and wild beasts rend piecemeal this poor envelope of clay. In all of that, nothing can prevent the mind from possessing itself in peace, correctly assessing the events around it and making prompt use of the material thus offered. – Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

This has to be the most powerful advice I have ever encountered. I have committed it and the lines that follow it to memory. I’ve racked my nerves racing to meetings, scrambling for deadlines, worrying about what to make for dinner, paying property taxes on time, and preparing for presentations for investment. The list of morning chores can be exhausting before even getting on my commute to work at a start up that’s still starting up. It feels overwhelming very often.

When I worry about my life’s candle being burned at both ends, I turn to meditation. I meditate on the words above.

When the team is worried about making the next milestone and the emotions are evident, I refuse to be coerced with those demands. In the middle of making a company, I know it’s just like all the other companies that have come before and will come again. They come out of the ground like a seed, sprout…hope for water and sun. If it’s lucky, it grows tall and strong. If not, it’s material can be used again to feed other seeds. Of course, I do what needs to be done, but do I need to let it wreck me? I refuse to be coerced.

When the children have their concerns, I listen. I know them. I’ve had them, too. But, I know it is like all the other problems that young people have. It can feel overwhelming. I remember. But in this tumult, I know it passes. I help them with what I know and we go on. The emotions are felt and they pass. Just like all the other emotions that have been felt before.

When I think of my goals and realize I haven’t achieved them, I can become impatient, frustrated, angry, depressed, etc. I meditate to get clear. I often realize it’s useless to think of it this way. When I meditate, I can see that some goals take time, or that I may not even want the goal I’m aiming towards. Most often, I get clear on the next action to take. I may fret about taking that action, but I take it and then chuckle that I fretted about taking it. Refusing to be coerced into the storm, or going into the storm but as an observer, yields so much clarity and value. You truly see the wild beasts rending piecemeal our poor envelope of clay. The futility of it is monstrous.

Understanding this, practicing this…it helps. Tremendously. It may be the secret to living fully. Maybe.

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