inward locus

Marcus Aurelius on Individual and his thinking

March 28, 2020 | 2 min read

Two millennia earlier, the Roman Emperor and Stoic Philosopher Marcus Aurelius provided uncommonly lucid connection between the nature, the divine and humans in his Meditations – the timeless book of ancient wisdom that gave us his advice on the key to living fully. His view on people lost in the finite would radically change the way we look at the life, He says

“Nothing is more pathetic than people who run around in circles, “delving into the things that lie beneath” and conducting investigations into the souls of the people around them, never realizing that all you have to do is to be attentive to the power inside you and worship it sincerely. To worship it is to keep it from being muddied with turmoil and becoming aimless and dissatisfied with nature—divine and human. What is divine deserves our respect because it is good; what is human deserves our affection because it is like us. And our pity too, sometimes, for its inability to tell good from bad—as terrible a blindness as the kind that can’t tell white from black.”

Being human is one best thing we can do if we really know what’s human. We fill our minds with the worries and anticipations for selfish motives. While we think individually, we have to keep in mind the eco system developed around us. We cannot progress truly if we are focused on individual growth and not taking into account the effects on surrounding. But when we start to think beyond ourselves, we easily get lost in the wrongdoings or rightdoing of other people. We start judging and measuring actions based on other people’s point of view. What I understand is purpose must be served in all our actions, we must not lose the sight of the greater goal. We can slowly develop habit of taking into account the purpose of actions and motives and design our deeds around the idea of creating a better version of self and the system. Marcus Aurelius tells.

“Don’t waste the rest of your time here worrying about other people—unless it affects the common good.”

Clouded sky roars. Stormed sea growls. What clouds your judgments defines what’s your end game is. What you think, you end up doing. While usually we think about infinite matters and hardly couple of them really matter in the long or short term, we waster our energy, our attitude on such trivial troubles. Our mind can be as sharp as the slenderness of our thoughts is. Marcus Aurelius wrote in Meditations,

“You need to get used to winnowing your thoughts, so that if someone says, “What are you thinking about?” you can respond at once (and truthfully) that you are thinking this or thinking that. And it would be obvious at once from your answer that your thoughts were straightforward and considerate ones—the thoughts of an unselfish person, one unconcerned with pleasure and with sensual indulgence generally, with squabbling, with slander and envy, or anything else you’d be ashamed to be caught thinking.”


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