You have power over your mind, not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength. –Marcus Aurelius
The stoics knew a thing or two regarding the locus of control. The family and circumstances into which we're born, bodily attacks from viruses and bacteria, physical and psychological treatment from others, geopolitical power dynamics, and so on. Completely outside our sphere of influence.
Yet look how much energy we exert attempting to soften these circumstances.
If I do these certain things people will like me more. If I pursue this career option or make this investment decision, then I'll have more money to purchase stuff that will make me happier. These foods, exercise regimens, and medications will fix - or at least help improve - my body issues.
Happiness is out there awaiting my eventual grasp.
The great Roman emperor and stoic philosopher knew better. We have no power over "outside events" despite misguided beliefs we may hold contrary.
In fact, it is our ego that injects an illusion of control. That's the very nature of every desired goal we seek, each plan we pursue. Once I unfetter myself from society's shackles peace will be mine.
But as Marcus Aurelius wisely counseled to himself, "You have power over your mind."
What good is power over our mind? Well, everything we experience is the result of a choice in our mind.
When we turn to the ego mind, we get what we've always gotten. A capricious world, stacked against us, which we must overcome. Perhaps brief moments of seeming joy yet soon certain to be undone through some unfortunate circumstance.
When instead we choose the mind of spirit we experience what A Course in Miracles describes as a "tremendous release and deep peace." It's an eternal state of unconditional joy as we've reconnected with our source. And when we finally realize this, we will, indeed, have found strength.
From this mindful state, anything we do in the world from planning through execution will be imbued with a different purpose. For we'll be channeling sublime love and compassion in each step.
Join me in Thursday's Zoom session where we'll explore the power of mind and how we can practice experiencing more peace and less pain. I look forward to seeing you then.