Around 300 BC, a merchant named Zeno was sailing on the Mediterranean with a ship full of rare, valuable purple dye. The coloring agent was in great demand - particularly for adorning the robes of royalty. The dye was Zeno’s prized possession, for which he'd been working to procure much of his life. And now Zeno was on his way to sell his precious treasure.
Tragedy struck as the ship crashed on the rocks with all the dye spilling into the sea. Zeno lost everything. He was penniless. Destitute.
And then a thought came to him: it's only after you've lost everything that you are free to do anything.
From that inspiration Zeno created the philosophy of Stoicism and the understanding that we give everything all the meaning it has for us. When Zeno was later asked about the shipwreck, he described it as "a most prosperous voyage."
Zeno realized that the problem is not the problem. It is only our thoughts that are a problem. The problem is as it is. It has no ability to make us feel one way or another. It's our interpretation that makes all the difference.
Your thoughts determine the world you see. It is your thoughts, then, that we must work, if your perception of the world is to be changed. (W-pI.11.1; W-pI.23.1)
As we learn in A Course in Miracles, every thought we have makes up some segment of the world we see. All our emotions flow from thought. Thus, despite how strongly we may believe otherwise, happiness is not the result of external circumstances. It's a choice in the mind. In fact, everything that happens, happens in the mind.
Whether Zeno sold his dye or watched it wash away, he realized that peace was not a function of his fortune or lack thereof. It is only our thoughts that can make anything into a problem. And thoughts come from the mind.
When we step back from adversity and return to our mind, without judgment, we discover a new way of seeing. One that leads to true happiness.
Join me in Thursday's class where we'll discuss the nature of thought and how we can leverage that awareness to create our own "most prosperous voyage." I look forward to seeing you then.