The Most Insightful & Life-Changing Ideas From Marcus Aurelius’s Book, “Meditations”

Marcus Aurelius is a former Roman Emperor (Ruled from 161A.D. – 180A.D), and his personal notes are so insightful & impactful that they have been translated, turned into a book, and carried on for almost 2000 years now.

Meditations by Marcus Aurelius has definitely expanded my mind to new & deep ideas. Aurelius’s words have given me a deeper understanding on letting go of petty worries & focusing on life’s bigger picture.

His words gave me insight into the shortness of life, death, good ways of dealing with negative people, different ways of thinking & perceiving life, and so much more.

MeditationsMarcusAurelius1811

If you are open to mind expanding ideas then this is definitely for you!

To begin with some of Marcus’s wisdom he was one of the first people recorded to ever have the perspective of being a citizen of the world instead of only a citizen of his town/country:

He said: “My city and state are Rome-as Antoninus. But as a human being? The world. So for me, ‘good’ can only mean what’s good for both communities.”

He saw the bigger picture of life & death.

Marcus is known as one of the few good Emperors to ever live. Most other Emperors and people in power got caught up in their power & lived a life of overindulgence in all things. Marcus was able to see past this physical World into the bigger picture of life & beyond, which led him to living a disciplined & humble life—which even today is extremely hard for people, especially people in power!

I read this after seeing it was on the top of Ryan Holiday’s Book Recommendations. So I got a copy of it online, and dove right in.

I have previously thought about how the Earth will one day be consumed by a star or something & will discontinue existing, as well as everything on it. I never had a name for that idea until now—it is thinking as a stoic. This may seem negative to some but this perspective can help you let go of your trivial worries. Embracing these ideas can help you live with a deep inner peace, as it did for me.

In Meditations, Marcus Aurelius gives unique & stoic perspectives on how to live a better life.

The sections in this summary include:

1) Dealing with Others’ Opinions & Actions

2) On Thinking, The Mind & Perspective

3) On One’s Actions & Work

4) Death & The Shortness of Life

5) 19 Best Quotes

——————————————————————————————————————————

To first sum up the book Meditations with a few main points

  • Don’t worry about what other people say or think about you. Focus on what is in your control & let go of the rest. “God did not intend my happiness to rest with someone else.” 

It never ceases to amaze me: We all love ourselves more than other people, but care more about their opinion than our own.”

“Or is it your reputation that’s bothering you? But look at how soon we’re all forgotten. The abyss of endless time that swallows it all. The emptiness of all those applauding hands. The people who praise us-how capricious they are, how arbitrary. And the tiny region in which it all takes place. The whole earth a point in space-and most of it uninhabited.”

  • Let go of the small worries you have during your days. Your problems, as well as your entire life is temporary & one day will be gone forever—let your worries go today:

“The first step: Don’t be anxious. Nature controls it all. And before long you’ll be no one, nowhere—like Hadrian, like Augustus. The second step: Concentrate on what you have to do.  Fix your eyes on it. Remind yourself that your task is to be a good human being. Then do it, without hesitation, and speak the truth as you see it.  But with kindness.  With humility.  Without hypocrisy.”

“In the age of Vespasian for example — People doing the exact same things: marrying, raising children, getting sick, dying, waging war, throwing parties, doing business, farming, flattering, boasting, distrusting, plotting, hoping others will die, complaining about their own lives, falling in love, putting away money, seeking high office and power……and that life they led is nowhere to be found…The exact same thing happened in the age of Trajan..And that too, gone..

..Then what should we work for??

—Only this: proper understanding; unselfish action; truthful speech.  A resolve to accept whatever happens as necessary and familiar, flowing like water from that same source and spring.”

  • Everything happens for a reason. Human logic can only comprehend so much about Life & the Universe—embrace & learn to love the situations & circumstances you are in no matter what position life has put you in. You are still breathing. Be thankful for what you do have & stop complaining. Life is short. Don’t pity yourself-life has a reason for us-death is not a bad thing. “Don’t complain. Doing what’s right takes patience. Think about the number of people who have feuded and envied and hated and fourth and died and been buried.”

“Treat everything around you as a dream.”

“People ask, have you ever seen the gods you worship? How can you be sure they exist? Answers—Just look around….I’ve never seen my soul either, and yet I revere it—I Know they exist because I’ve felt their power over and over.”

  • Seek out peace of mind over fleeting pleasures. Know you can never know it all-be humble & remain a life long student. Honest work can help you achieve peace of mind: 

“Some people, when they do someone a favor, are always looking for a chance to call it in. And some aren’t, but they’re still aware of it—still regard it as a debt. But others don’t even do that. They’re like a vine that produces grapes without looking for anything in return… —A horse at the end of a race.. —A dog when the hunt is over… —A bee with its honey stored… —And a human being after helping others. 

—They don’t make a fuss about it. They just go on to something else, as the vine looks forward to bearing fruit again in season. —We should be like that. Acting almost unconsciously. -Yes, except conscious of it.”

“Pride is a master of deception: when you think you’re occupied in the weightiest business, thats when he has you in his spell.”

People who are excited by posthumous fame forget that the people who remember them will soon die too. And those after them in turn. Until their memory passes from one to another like a candle flame, gutters and goes out.”

Enjoy many more insightful & thought-provoking words from Aurelius.

Marcoaurelio30000

1) On Dealing with Other People

“Don’t pay attention to other people’s minds. Look straight ahead, where nature is leading you, through the things that happen to you through your own actions.”

“When you wake up in the morning, tell yourself: The people I deal with today will be meddling, ungrateful, arrogant, dishonest, jealous, and unfriendly.  They are like this because they can’t tell good from evil.”

“Welcoming wholeheartedly whatever comes- whatever were assigned—not worrying too often, or with any selfish motive, about what other people say. Or do, or think.”

“Don’t waste the rest of your time here worrying about other people—unless it affects the common good.  It will keep you from doing anything useful.  You’ll be too preoccupied with what so-and-so is doing, and why, and what they’re saying, and what they’re thinking, and what they’re up to, and all the other things that throw you off and keep you from focusing on your own mind.”

“God did not intend my happiness to rest with someone else.”

“You want praise from people who kick themselves every 15 minutes, the approval of people who despise themselves…..why do you want approval from people who don’t know where or who they are on this planet?”

“The tranquility that comes when you stop caring what they say. Or think, or do.  Only what you do. Asking yourself: Is this fair?  Is this the right thing to do?”

“Why do unskilled and untrained souls disturb souls with skill and understanding?”

“So other people hurt me? That’s their problem. Their character and actions are not mine.”

“So remember this principle when someone threatens to cause you pain: the thing itself was no misfortune at all; to endure it and prevail is great good fortune.”

That to expect bad people not to injure others is crazy. It’s to ask the impossible. And to let them behave like that to other people but expect them to exempt you is arrogant—the act of a tyrant.”

“When people injure you, ask yourself what good or harm they thought would come of it. If you understand that, you’ll feel sympathy rather than outrage or anger.”

“If they’ve injured you, then they’re the ones who suffer for it.”

“People do things that upset you, but it can’t harm your mind. People do boorish things, what’s strange or unheard of about that?? Isn’t it yourself you should reproach—for not anticipating that they’d act this way??—It was you who did wrong by assuming that someone with those traits deserved your trust.”

“Other people’s mistakes? Leave them to their makers.”

”Leave other peoples mistakes where they lie.”

“If anyone can refute me-show me I’m making a mistake or looking at things from the wrong perspective— I’ll gladly change. It’s the truth I’m after, and the truth never harmed anyone. What harms us is to persist in self-deceit and ignorance.”

“People out for posthumous fame forget that the Generations To Come will be the same annoying people they know now. And just as mortal. What does it matter to you if they say x about you, or think y?”

“When faced with people’s bad behavior, turn around and ask when you have acted like that. When you saw money as good, or pleasure, or social position. Your anger will subside as soon as you recognize that they acted under compulsion.”

“If someone despises me—that’s their problem. Mine—not to do or say anything despicable. If someone hates me—that’s their problem. Mine—to be patient and cheerful with everyone, including them. Ready to show them their mistake. Not spitefully, or to show off my own self-control, but in an honest, upright way. That’s the way we should be like inside, and never let the gods catch us feeling anger or resentment.”

“Whenever you are about to find fault with someone, ask yourself the following question: What fault of mine most nearly resembles the one I am about to criticize?”

“People who feel hurt and resentment: picture them as the pig at the sacrifice, kicking and squealing all the way.”

That kindness is invincible, provided it’s sincere—not ironic or an act. What can even the most vicious person do if you keep treating him with kindness and gently set him straight—if you get the chance—correcting him cheerfully at the exact moment that he’s trying to do you harm..

‘No, no my friend. That isn’t what were here for. It isn’t me who’s harmed by that. It’s you.’ And show him gently without pointing fingers that it’s so.”

That it’s not what they do that bothers us: that’s a problem for their minds, not ours. It’s our own misperceptions. Discard them. Be willing to give up thinking of this as a catastrophe…and your anger is gone. How do you do that? By recognizing that you’ve suffered no disgrace.”

“That you don’t know for sure it is a mistake. A lot of things are means to some other end. You have to know an awful lot before you can judge other people’s actions with real understanding.”

It never ceases to amaze me: We all love ourselves more than other people, but care more about their opinion than our own.”

“The despicable phoniness of people who say, ‘listen, I’m going to level with you here.’ What does that mean?? It shouldn’t even need to be said. It should be obvious—written in block letters on your forehead. It should be audible in your voice, visible in your eyes, like a lover who looks into your face, and takes in the whole story at a glance. A straightforward honest person should be like someone who stinks: when you’re in the same room with him, you know it.  But false straightforwardness is like a knife in the back. False friendship is the worst.  Avoid it at all costs. If you’re honest and straightforward and mean well, it should show in your eyes. It should be unmistakable.”

“Or is it your reputation thats bothering you? But look at how soon we’re all forgotten. The abyss of endless time that swallows it all. The emptiness of all those applauding hands. The people who praise us-how capricious they are, how arbitrary. And the tiny region in which it all takes place. The whole earth a point in space-and most of it uninhabited.”

“To live life in peace, immune to all compulsion..Let them scream whatever they want.”

“Not to be distracted by their darkness.  To run straight for the finish line, unswerving.”

“Don’t be put off by other people’s comments and criticism.”

“When someone seems to have injured you: -But how can I be sure? And in any case, keep in mind: —That he’s already been tried and convicted-by himself, like scratching your own eyes out. —That to expect a bad person not to harm others is like expecting fig trees not to secrete juice, babies not to cry, horses not to neigh—-the inevitable not to happen.”

Marcus_Aurelius_-_Project_Gutenberg_eText_15877

2) On Thinking, The Mind & Perspective

“Look into their minds, at what the wise do and what they don’t.”

“Beautiful things of any kind are beautiful in themselves and sufficient to themselves. Praise is extraneous. The object of praise remains what it was—no better and no worse.Is an emerald suddenly flawed if no one admires it???”

“If you can cut yourself—your mind—free of what other people do or say, of what you’ve said or done, of the things that you’re afraid will happen, the impositions of the body that contains you and the breath within, so the mind is freed from fate, brought to clarity, and lives life on its own recognizance—doing what’s right, accepting what happens, and speaking the truth—
—If you can cut free of impressions that cling to the mind, free of the future and the past—can make yourself ‘a sphere rejoicing in its perfect stillness’ And concentrate on living what can be lived (The present moment) —-then you can spend the time you have left in tranquility.  And in kindness. And at peace with the spirit within you.”

“If the problem is you’re not doing something you think you should be doing, why not just do it?”

“Don’t let your imagination be crushed by life as a whole. Don’t try to picture everything bad that could possibly happen. Stick with the situation at hand, and ask, ‘why is this so unbearable? Why can’t I endure it?’ You’ll be embarrassed to answer.

“Then remind yourself that past and future have no power over you. Only the present-and even that can be minimized. Just mark off its limits. And if your mind tries to claim that it can’t hold against that…well then heap shame upon it.”

“Comparing a man who people are mocking and a spring of clear water: —”A man standing by a spring of clear, sweet water and cursing it. While the fresh water keeps on bubbling up. He can shovel mud into it, or dung, and the stream will carry it away, wash itself clean, remain unstained. — TO HAVE THAT. NOT A CISTERN BUT A PERPETUAL SPRING. — HOW?? BY WORKING TO WIN YOUR FREEDOM. HOUR BY HOUR. THROUGH PATIENCE, HONESTY, HUMILITY.”

“The first step: Don’t be anxious. Nature controls it all. And before long you’ll be no one, nowhere—like Hadrian, like Augustus.

**The second step: Concentrate on what you have to do. Fix your eyes on it.  Remind yourself that your task is to be a good human being. Then do it, without hesitation, and speak the truth as you see it. But with kindness. With humility. Without hypocrisy.”

“The mind without passions is a fortress. No place is more secure. Once we take refuge there we are safe forever. Not to see this is ignorance. To see it and not seek safety means misery.” …Be grateful for all you have.

“If this evil is not of my doing, nor the result of it, and the community is not endangered, why should it bother me?? Where is the danger for the community?”

“People try to get away from it all—to the country, to the beach, to the mountains. You always wish that you could too. Which is idiotic: you can get away from it anytime you like….By going within. Nowhere you can go is more peaceful-more free of interruptions- than you own soul  An instants recollection and there it is: complete tranquility (think of pleasant memories). A quick visit to this mindful place will be enough to ward off all nonsense and send you back ready to fave what awaits you.”

“It’s normal to feel stress and pain as a human, as a normal human being. And if it’s normal how can it be bad?”

“To erase false perceptions, tell yourself: I have it in me to keep my soul from evil, lust and confusion. To see things as they are and treat them as they deserve. Don’t overlook this innate ability.”

“Disinterest means that intelligence should rise about the movements of the flesh. Above fame, above death, and everything like them.”

“I can control my thoughts as necessary; then how can I be troubled? What is outside my mind means nothing to it. Absorb that lesson and your feet stand firm.”

“You need to avoid certain things in your train of thought: everything random, everything irrelevant.  And certainly everything self-important or malicious. Get used to winnowing your thoughts so you aren’t ashamed of what you’re thinking.”

“The mind in itself has no needs, except for those it creates itself. Is undisturbed, except for its own disturbances. Knows no obstructions, except those from within.”

“Nothing that goes on in anyone else’s mind can harm you. Nor can the shifts and changes in the world around you. —Then where is harm to be found? —In your capacity to see it. Stop doing that and everything will be fine. Let the part of you that makes that judgment keep quiet no matter what the body attaches itself to.

“Keep in mind that when the mind detaches itself and realizes its own nature, it no longer has anything to do with ordinary life-the rough & the smooth.”

“Disturbance comes only from within—from our own perceptions.”

“Everything you see will soon alter and cease to exist. Think of how many changes you’ve already seen.”

“The world is nothing but change. Our life is only perception”

“Have you ever seen a served hand or foot, or a decapitated head, just lying somewhere far away from the body it belonged to?? —That’s what we do to ourselves—or try to—when we rebel against what happens to us, when we segregate ourselves..or when we do something selfish….You have one advantage here: you can reattach yourself.”

“Stop perceiving the pain you imagine and you’ll remain completely unaffected.”

“Pride is a master of deception: when you think you’re occupied in the weightiest business, thats when he has you in his spell.” —(Remember how little you know. You may be an expert in one subject but remain humble by remembering how little you know in other fields.—Also think about in comparison to how vast the Universe is, how little you know. Remain a life long student).

“Give yourself a gift: the present moment.”

“Alexander and Caesar and Pompey. Compared with Diogenes, Heraclitus, Socrates?? The philosophers knew the what, the why, the how. Their minds were their own. —The others?? Nothing but anxiety and enslavement.”

“People ask, have you ever seen the gods you worship? How can you be sure they exist?Answers—Just look around….I’ve never seen my soul either, and yet I revere it —I Know they exist because I’ve felt their power over and over.”

“So keep this refuge in mind: the back roads of your self. Above all, no strain and no stress. Be straightforward. Look at things like a man, like a human, like a mortal.”

“Choose not to be harmed—and you won’t feel harmed. Don’t feel harmed—and you haven’t been.”

“External things are not the problem. It’s your assessment of them. Which you can erase right now.”

“Don’t be disturbed. Un-complicate yourself. Something happens to you. Good.  It was meant for you by nature, woven into the pattern from the beginning.”

“Things are wrapped in such a veil of mystery that many good philosophers have found it impossible to make sense of them. Even the stoics have trouble.  Any assessment we make is subject to alteration—just as we are ourselves.”

“Keep reminding yourself of the way things are connected, of their relatedness.”

“Wash yourself clean. With simplicity, with humility, with indifference to everything but right and wrong.”

“Everywhere, at each moment, you have the option: —To accept this even with humility. —To treat this person as he should be treated. —To approach this thought with care, so that nothing irrational creeps in.”

“Blot your imagination. Turn your desire to stone. Quench your appetites. Keep your mind centered on itself.”

“Today I escaped from anxiety. Or no, I discarded it, because it was within me, in my own perceptions—not outside.”

“You can discard most of the junk that clutters your mind—things that exist only there—and clear out space for yourself: —By comprehending the scale of the world. —By contemplating infinite time. —By thinking of the speed with which things change—each part of everything; the narrow space between our birth and death; the infinite time before; the equally unbounded time that follows.”

“Pray for others and pray not to feel fear, or desire, or grief… —Isn’t it better to do what’s up to you?? Like a free man!  —Start praying like this and you’ll see.

—Not “some way to sleep with her” but a way to stop wanting to.

—Not “some way to get rid of him” but a way to stop trying.

—Not “some way to save my child” but a way to lose your fear.

REDIRECT your prayers like that, and watch what happens.”

“I am part of a world controlled by nature. I have a relationship with other, similar parts. And with that in mind I have no right, as a part, to complain about what is assigned me by the whole. Because what benefits the whole can’t harm the parts, and the whole does nothing that doesn’t benefit it.”

“That no one can say truthfully that you are not a straightforward or honest person. That anyone who thinks that believes a falsehood. The responsibility is all yours; no one can stop you from being honest or straightforward. Simply resolve not to go on living if you aren’t. It would be contrary to the logos.”

“So too a healthy mind should be prepared for anything. The one that keeps saying “Are my children all right?” Or “everyone must approve of me” is like eyes that can only stand pale colors, or teeth that can handle only mush.”

“Remember that what pulls the strings is within—hidden from us. In speech, in life, in the person. Don’t conceive of the rest as part of it—the skin that contains it, and the accompanying organs. Which are tools.”

“Characteristics of the rational soul: Self-perception, self-examination, and the power to make of itself whatever it wants. —It reaps its own harvest. —It reaches its intended goal, no matter where the limit of its life is set. No matter which task you pick-it has fulfilled its mission, done its work completely.  So that it can say, ‘I have what I came for.’-

—It surveys the world and the empty space around it, and the way its put together. It delves into the endlessness of time to extend its grasp and comprehension of the periodic births and rebirths the world goes through. It knows that those who come after us will see nothing different, and those who came before us saw no more than we do.—Affection for its neighbors. Truthfulness. Humility. Not to place anything above itself.”

“A branch cut away from the branch beside it is simultaneously cut away from the whole tree. So too a human being separated from another is cut loose from the whole community. —The branch is cut off by someone else. But people cut themselves off—through hatred, through rejection—and don’t realize that they’re cutting themselves off from the whole civic enterprise. —But we can reattach ourselves and become once more components of the whole. —But if the rupture is too often repeated, it makes the severed part hard to reconnect, and to restore.”

“As you move forward in the logos, people will stand in your way.  They can’t keep you from doing what’s healthy; don’t let them stop you from putting up with them either. Take care on both counts. Not just sound judgments, solid actions—tolerances as well, for those who try to obstruct us or give us trouble in other ways.—

Because anger, too, is weakness, as much as breaking down and giving up the struggle. Both are deserters: the man who breaks and runs, and the one who let himself be alienated from his fellow humans.”

“And why is it so hard when things go against you? If it’s imposed by nature, accept it gladly and stop fighting it. And if not, work out what your own nature requires, and aim at that, even if it brings you no glory.”

“Four habits of thought to watch for, and erase from your mind when you catch them. Tell yourself:

—This thought is unnecessary.

—This one is destructive to the people around you.

—This wouldn’t be what you really think.

—That the more divine part of you has been beaten and subdued by the degraded mortal part—the body and its stupid self-indulgence.”

“Because to be drawn toward what is wrong and self-indulgent, toward anger and fear and pain, is to revolt against nature. And for the mind to complain about anything that happens is to desert its post. It was created to show reverence-respect for the divine—no less than to act justly.”

“God sees all our souls freed from their fleshly containers, stripped clean of their bark, cleansed of their grime. If you learn to do the same, you can avoid a great deal of distress.”

“That it’s all about how you perceive it.”

“Throw out your misperceptions and you’ll be fine..And what’s stopping you from throwing them out??”

“That nothing belongs to anyone. Children, body, life itself—all of them come from the same source.”

“That it’s about how you choose to see things.

That the present is all we have to live in. Or to lose.”

marcus

3) On One’s Actions & Work

“Learn to ask of all actions, “Why are they doing that?”—Starting with your own.”

“Nothing is as encouraging as when virtues are visibly embodied in the people around us, when we’re practically showered with them.”

“But true good fortune is what you make for yourself: Good fortune=good character, good intentions, and good actions.”

“Focus on what is said when you speak and on what results from each action. Know what the one aims at, and what the other means.”

“My city and state are Rome-as Antoninus.  But as a human being? The world. So for me, ‘good’ can only mean what’s good for both communities.”

“Never regard something as doing you good if it makes you betray a trust, or lose your sense of shame, or makes you show hatred, suspicion, ill will, or hypocrisy, or a desire for things best done behind closed doors. If you can privilege your own mind your guiding spirit will keep you clear of drama. You will be free of fear and desire. Concentrate on your mind to be in the right state—the state of a rational, civic mind.”

“But to get back up when you fail, to celebrate behaving like a human—however imperfectly—and fully embrace the pursuit that you’ve embarked on.”

** “All of us are working on the same project. Some consciously, with understanding; some without knowing it.” ** …—“Those who sleep are also hard at work”—Heraclitus—The project of Life—Being guided by higher power for greater good…

“So by keeping in mind the whole I form a part of, I’ll accept whatever happens.  And because of my relationship to other parts, I will do nothing selfish, but aim instead to join them, to direct my every action toward what benefits us all and to avoid what doesn’t. —If I do that then my life should go smoothly—As you might expect a citizen’s life to go—one whose actions serve his fellow citizens, and who embraces the community decree.”

“Some people, when they do someone a favor, are always looking for a chance to call it in. And some aren’t, but they’re still aware of it—still regard it as a debt. But others don’t even do that. They’re like a vine that produces grapes without looking for anything in return.

—A horse at the end of a race…

—A dog when the hunt is over…

—A bee with its honey stored…

—And a human being after helping others.

—They don’t make a fuss about it. They just go on to something else, as the vine looks forward to bearing fruit again in season.

—-We should be like that. Acting almost unconsciously. -Yes, except conscious of it.”

“But we need to eliminate unnecessary assumptions as well. To eliminate the unnecessary actions that follow.”

“To keep the gods in mind as well. What they want is not flattery, but for rational things to be like them. For figs to do what figs were meant to do—and dogs, and bees…and people.”

“No surplus words or unnecessary actions.”

“When you complain, you are hacking and destroying life.”

“Be ready to reconsider your position when someone can set you straight or convert you to their view—but it must rest on the conviction that it is right, or benefits others-nothing else. Not because its more appealing or more popular.”

“Not to live as if you had endless years ahead of you…While you’re alive and able-be good.”

“Do external things distract you? Then make time for yourself to learn something worthwhile; stop letting yourself be pulled in all directions. But make sure you guard against the other kind of confusion. People who labor all their lives but have no purpose to direct every thought and impulse toward are wasting their time—even when hard at work.”

“If you seek tranquility, do less. Or, more accurately, do what’s essential—what the logos of a social being requires. Which brings a double satisfaction: to do less, better.”

—”Because most of what we say and do is not essential. If you can eliminate it, you’ll have more time, and more tranquility. Ask yourself at every moment, “Is this necessary?””

“How much more damage anger and grief do than the things that cause them.”

“No matter what anyone says or does, my task is to be good. Like gold says my task is to be gold.”

“The things ordained for you—teach yourself to be at one with those. And the people who share them with you—treat them with love. With real love.”

“When they’re really possessed by what they do, they’d rather stop eating and sleeping than give up practicing their arts.”

“And how trivial the things we want so passionately are. And how much more philosophical it would be to take what we’re given and show uprightness, self-control, obedience to God, without making a production of it. There’s nothing more insufferable than people who boast about their own humility.”

“To shrug it all off and wipe it clean—every annoyance and distraction—and reach utter stillness.”

“The more we deny ourselves of bad things, or are deprived of them involuntary—the better we become.”

“Characteristics shared by god and men— — Not to let others hold you back. —To locate goodness in thinking and doing the right thing and to limit your desires to that.”

“The only thing that isn’t worthless: to live this life out truthfully and rightly. And be patient with those who don’t.”

“Revere the Gods; watch over human beings. Our lives are short. The only rewards of our existence here are an unstained character and unselfish acts.”

People find pleasure in different ways. I find it in keeping my mind clear. In not turning away from people or the things that happen to them. In accepting and welcoming everything I see. In treating each thing as it deserves.”

“Practice really hearing what people say. Do your best to get inside their minds.”

“To a being with logos, an unnatural action is one that conflicts with the logos.”

“To move from one unselfish action to another with God in mind. Only there, delight and stillness.”

“What is it in ourselves that we should prize?

—Not just transpiration (even plants do that).

—Or respiration (even beasts and wild animals breathe).

—Or being struck by passing thoughts.

—Or jerked like a puppet by your own impulses.

—Or moving in herds.

—Or eating, and reliving yourself afterwards.

—Then what is to be prized? An audience clapping? No. No more than the clacking of their tongues. Which is all that public praise amounts to-a clacking of tongues. —So we throw out other people’s recognition. What’s left for us to prize?

—** I think it’s this: to do (and not do) what we were designed for.  That’s the goal of all trades, all arts, and what each of them aims at: that thing they create should do what it was designed to do. —Hold on to that and you won’t be tempted to aim at anything else. And if you can’t stop prizing other things you’ll never be free—you’ll be jealous…People who need those things are bound to be a mess.”

Take Antoninus as your model, always. His energy in doing what was rational…his steadiness in any situation..his sense of reverence…his calm expression…his gentleness…his modesty…his eagerness to grasp things. And how he never let things go before he was sure he had examined them thoroughly, understood them perfectly…The way he put up with unfair criticism, without returning it…how he couldn’t be hurried…how he wouldn’t listen to informers..how reliable he was as a judge of character, and of actions…not prone to backbiting, or cowardice, or jealousy, or empty rhetoric…content with the basics-in living quarters, bedding, clothes, food..how hard he worked..his ability to work straight through the dusk-because of his simple diet…his constancy and reliability as a friend…his tolerance of people who openly questioned his views and his delight at seeing his ideas improved upon….So that when your time comes, your conscience will be as clear as his.”

“Nothing has meaning to my mind except its own actions. Which are within its own control. And it’s only the immediate ones that matter. Its past and future actions too are meaningless.”

“Treat what you don’t have as nonexistent. Look at what you have, the things you value most, and think of how much you’d crave them if you didn’t have them. But be careful. Don’t feel such satisfaction that you start to overvalue them—that it would upset you to lose them.”

“You are much mistaken, my friend, if you think that any man worth his salt cares about the risk of death and doesn’t concentrate on this alone: whether what he’s doing is right or wrong, and his behavior a good man’s or a bad one’s.”

“Avoid rashness and credulity.”

“What matters is what kind of soul he had. —Not being a slave to other peoples’ ignorance, not losing temper unpredictably..treating men with justice and the gods with reverence.”

“Place your own well being in your own hands. It’s quite possible to be a good man without anyone realizing it. Remember that.”

“And you don’t need much to live happily. Don’t give up on attaining freedom, achieving humility, serving others, obeying God.”

“Perfection of character: to live your last day, every day, without frenzy, sloth, or pretense.”

“So you know how things stand. Now forget what they think of you. Be satisfied if you can live the rest of your life as nature demands. Focus on that and don’t let anything distract you.. 

..You’ve wandered and realized you never found what you were after: How to live. —Which is found in doing what human nature requires. —Through first principles. Which should govern your intentions and your actions. —What principles? —Those to do with good and evil. That nothing is good except what leads to fairness, and self-control, and courage and free will. And nothing bad except what does the opposite.”

—**The second step: Concentrate on what you have to do. Fix your eyes on it.  Remind yourself that your task is to be a good human being. Then do it, without hesitation, and speak the truth as you see it. But with kindness. With humility. Without hypocrisy.”

“Nature thrives on forward progress. And progress for the rational mind means not accepting falsehood or uncertainty in its perceptions, making unselfish actions its only aim, seeking and shunning only the things it has control over, embracing what nature demands of it.—As the leaf does in the tree.”

“Time for controlling your arrogance-yes. For overcoming pain and pleasure-yes.  For outgrowing ambition-yes. For not feeling anger at stupid and unpleasant people—even for caring about them,—for that, yes.”

“Blame no one. Set people straight, if you can. If not, just repair the damage.  And suppose you can’t do that either. Then where does blaming people get you??” 

No pointless actions..

“Everything is here for a purpose. And why were you born? For pleasure? See if that answer will stand up to questioning.”

“Joy for humans lies in human actions. —Human actions: kindness to others, contempt for the senses, the interrogation of appearances, observation of nature and events in nature.’’

“You have to assemble your life yourself—action by action.”

“No carelessness in your actions. No confusion in your words. No imprecision in your thoughts. No retreating into your own soul, or trying to escape it. No overactivity.”

“To lie is to blaspheme against the logos. Liars commit deceits which is injustice.”

“Do not pursue pleasure as good and flee from pain as if it is evil—that is blasphemous.”

“To privilege pleasure over pain, life over death, fame over anonymity—is clearly blasphemous.  NATURE doesn’t do those things.”

“Real luck would be to abandon life without ever encountering dishonesty, or hypocrisy, or self-indulgence, or pride. But the “next best voyage” is to die when you’ve had enough. Or are you determined to lie down with evil? Hasn’t experience even taught you that—to avoid it like the plague??

—Because it is a plague—a mental cancer—worse than anything causes by tainted air or an unhealthy climate. Diseases like that can only threaten your life; this one attacks your humanity.”

“To do harm is to do yourself harm. To do an injustice is to do yourself an injustice—it degrades you.”

“Objective judgment, now, at this very moment. —Unselfish action, now, at this very moment. —Willing acceptance-now, at this very moment-of all external events. —That’s all you need.”

“Work: Not to rouse pity, not to win sympathy or admiration. Only this—activity, stillness, as the logos of the state requires.”

“The design of the world is like a flood, sweeping all before it. The foolishness of them—little men busy with affairs of state, with philosophy—or what they think of as philosophy. Nothing but phlegm and mucus.

—Well then what?

—Do what nature demands. Get a move on—if you have it in you—and don’t worry whether anyone will give you credit for it.

—Be satisfied with even the smallest progress, and treat the outcome of it all as unimportant.”

“Indifference to external events. And a commitment to justice in your own acts.  Which means: thought and action resulting in the common good. What you were born to do.”

“Even in illness go on living your life the way it should be lived.. don’t discuss all your sicknesses and stuff..keep talking about philosophy and things you enjoy talking about.”

“Isn’t it enough that you’ve done what your nature demands? You want a salary too? As if your eyes expected a reward for seeing, or your feet for walking.  That’s what they were made for. By doing what they were designed to do, they’re performing their function. Whereas humans were made to help others.  And when we do help others—or help them to do something—we’re doing what we were designed for.  We perform our function.”

“Your actions and perceptions need to aim:

—At accomplishing practical ends.

—At the exercise of thought.

—At maintaining a confidence found on understanding. An unobtrusive confidence—hidden in plain sight.”

To follow the logos in all things is to be relaxed and energetic, joyful and serious at once.”

“To stop talking about what the good man is like, and just be one.”

“To feel grief or anger or fear is to become a fugitive—a fugitive from justice.”

“Too many things obstruct the irrational soul and get in their way.  But intellect and logos are able to make their way through anything in their path—by inborn capacity or sheer force of will.”

“Keep before your eyes the ease with which they do this—the ease with which the logos is carried through all things.

—All other obstacles either affect the lifeless body, or have no power to shake or harm anything unless misperception takes over or the logos surrenders voluntarily.”

“If it’s not right, don’t do it. If it’s not true, don’t say it. Let your intention be pure.”

“It’s time you realized that you have something in you more powerful and miraculous than the things that affect you and make you dance like a puppet.”

“It’s all in how you perceive it. You’re in control. You can dispense with misperception at will, like rounding the point. Serenity, total calm, safe anchorage.”

“To live a good life:

—We have the potential for it. If we can learn to be indifferent to what makes no difference. This is how we learn: by looking at each thing, both the parts and the whole. Keeping in mind that none of them can dictate how we perceive it. They don’t impose themselves on us.—It is we who generate the judgments—inscribing them on ourselves—And we don’t have to. We could leave the page blank—and if a mark slips through, erase it instantly.”

And along with not getting angry at others, try not to pander either. Both are forms of selfishness; both of them will do you harm. When you start to lose your temper, remember: 

There’s nothing manly about rage.

—It’s courtesy and kindness that define a human being—and a man. That’s who possesses strength and nerves and guts, not the angry whiners. Pain is the opposite of strength and so is anger.

“If you don’t have a consistent goal in life, you can’t live it in a consistent way.—Unhelpful unless you specify a goal.”

“If you direct your energies toward a common goal for all of mankind, your actions will be consistent, and so will you.”

“At festivals the Spartans put their guests’ seats in the shade, but sat themselves down anywhere. (Treat your guests better than you treat yourself)”

“This advice from Epicurean writings: to think continually of one of the men of old who lived a virtuous life.” (Look toward role models)

“Mastery of reading and writing requires a master. Still more so life.”

“We need to master the art of acquiescence. We need to pay attention to our impulses, making sure they don’t go unmoderated, that they benefit others, that they’re worthy of us. We need to steer clear of desire in any form and not try to avoid what’s beyond our control.”

”Socrates: What do you want, rational minds or irrational ones?

-Rational ones.

-Healthy of sick?

-Health

-Then work to obtain them.

-We already have.

—Then why all this squabbling?”

“Don’t let anything deter you: other people’s misbehavior, your own misperceptions, what people will say, or the feelings of the body that covers you…if it isn’t ceasing to live that you’re afraid of but never beginning to live properly…then you’ll be worthy of the world that made you. —No longer an alien in your own land.

—No longer shocked by everyday events—as if they were unheard-of aberrations. —No longer at the mercy of this, or that.”

“Practice even what seems impossible. The left hand is useless at almost everything, for lack of practice. But it guides the reins better than the right. From practice.”

marcus-aurelius-quote-fridge-magnet-2_large

4) On Death & The Shortness of Life

“Leave it up to the Gods and turn your attention to how you can best live the life before you.”

“You accept the limits placed on your body (height, weight, etc) Accept those placed on your time.”

“If it doesn’t hurt the individual elements to change continually into one another, why are people afraid of all of them changing and separating? It’s a natural thing. And nothing natural is evil.”

“Don’t complain. Doing what’s right takes patience. Think about the number of people who have feuded and envied and hated and fourth and died and been buried.”

“Treat everything around you as a dream.”

“And what dying is—and that if you look at it in the abstract and break down your imaginary ideas of it by logical analysis, you realize that it’s nothing but a process of nature, which only children can be afraid of. (And not only a process of nature but a necessary one.) And how man grasps God.”

“Then what can guide us?? Only philosophy. Which means making sure that the power within stays safe and free from assault, superior to please and pain, doing nothing randomly or dishonestly and with imposture, not dependent on anyone else’s doing something or not doing it. And making sure that it accepts what happens and what it is dealt as coming from the same place it came from. And above all, that it accepts death in a cheerful spirit.”

“You have functioned as a part of something; you will vanish into what produced you. Or be restored, rather. To the reason(logos) from which all things spring. By being changed.”

People who are excited by posthumous fame forget that the people who remember them will soon die too. And those after them in turn. Until their memory, passes from one to another like a candle flame, gutters and goes out.”

“But suppose that those who remembered you were immortal and your memory undying. What good would it do you?? And I don’t mean when you’re dead, but in your own lifetime. What use is praise, except to make your lifestyle a little more comfortable?”

“In the age of Vespasian for example — People doing the exact same things: marrying, raising children, getting sick, dying, waging war, throwing parties, doing business, farming, flattering, boasting, distrusting, plotting, hoping others will die, complaining about their own lives, falling in love, putting away money, seeking high office and power……and that life they led is nowhere to be found…The exact same thing happened in the age of Trajan..And that too, gone..

Then what should we work for??

—Only this: proper understanding; unselfish action; truthful speech.  A resolve to accept whatever happens as necessary and familiar, flowing like water from that same source and spring.”

“Suppose that a god announced that you were going to die tomorrow or the day after. Unless you were a complete coward you wouldn’t kick up a fuss about which day it was—what difference could it make?? Now recognize that the difference between years from now and tomorrow is just as small.”

“Human lives and brief and trivial. Pass through this life as nature demands. To give it up without complaint.”

“Everything is interwoven, and the web is holy; none of its parts are unconnected. They are composed harmoniously, and together they compose the world.”

 “Our lifetime is so brief. And to live it out in these circumstances, among these people, in this body? Nothing to get excited about. Consider the abyss of time past, the infinite future. Three days of life or three generations: whats the difference?”

“Surrounded by all of this, we need to practice acceptance. Without disdain. But remembering that our own worth is measured by what we devote our energy to.”

“As a doctor prescribes patients thing, nature has prescribed us all with different physicality’s and injuries….What happens to each of us is ordered. It furthers our destiny. Accept what nature prescribes. Embrace it.”

“Nature creates things with the overall idea that it will be beneficial to the WHOLE. It was prescribed for you, and it pertains to you. The thread was spun long ago, by the oldest cause of all.”

“The foolishness of people who are surprised by anything that happens. Like travelers amazed at foreign customs.”

“I am made up of substance and what animates it, and neither one can ever stop existing, and more than it began to. Every portion of me will be reassigned as another portion of the world, and that in turn transformed into another. Ad infinitum.”

“Keep in mind how fast things pass by and are gone—those that are now and those to come. Existence flows past us like a river. The infinity of past and future gapes before us—a chasm whose depth we cannot see.”

“Remember:  

-Matter-how tiny you share of it.

-Time-how brief and fleeting your allotment of it.

-Fate-How small a role you play in it.”

“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.”

“Until your time comes, honor and revere the gods, treat human beings as they deserve, be tolerant with others and strict with yourself. Remember, nothing belongs to you but your flesh and blood and nothing else in under your control.”

“Death. The end of sense-perception, of being controlled by our emotions, of mental activity, of enslavement to our bodies.”

“So many who were remembered already forgotten, and those who remember them long gone.”

“For every action, ask: How does it affect me? Could I change my mind about it? —But soon I’ll be dead, and the slate’s empty. So this is the only question: Is it the action of a responsible being, part of society, and subject to the same decrees as God?”

“That everything has to submit. But only rational beings can do so voluntarily.”

“At some point you have to recognize what world it is that you belong to; what power rules it and from what source you spring; that there is a limit to the time assigned you, and if you don’t use it to free yourself it will be gone and will never return.”

“Nature is like someone throwing a ball in the air, gauging its rise and arc-and where it will fall. And what does the ball gain as it flies upward? Or lose when it plummets to earth? What does the bubble gain from its existence? Or lose by bursting? And the same for a candle.

—They all die soon—praiser and praised, remember and remembered.  Remembered in these parts or in a corner of them. Even there they don’t all agree with each other (or even with themselves). And the whole earth a mere point in space.”

“Fear of death is fear of what we may experience. Nothing at all, or something quite new. But if we experience nothing, we can experience nothing bad. And if our experience changes, then our existence will change with it—change, but not cease.”

Don’t look down on death, but welcome it. It too is one of the things required by nature. Like youth and old age. Like growth and maturity. Like a new set of teeth, a beard, the first gray hair. Like sex and pregnancy and childbirth. Like all the other physical changes at each stage of life, our dissolution is no different.”

“So this is how a thoughtful person should await death: not with indifference, not with impatience, not with disdain, but simply viewing it as one of the things that happens to us. Now you anticipate the child’s emergence from its mother’s womb; that’s how you should await the hour when your soul will emerge from its compartment.”

“Keep in mind that everything you believe is meaningless to those you leave behind.—The only thing that could make us want to stay here: the chance to live with those who share our vision.  

—But look how tiring it is—the cacophony we live in. Enough to make you say to death, ‘come quickly. Before I start to forget myself, like them.”

“Think about your life: childhood, boyhood, youth, old age.  Every transformation a kind of dying. Was that so terrible?”

“The earth will cover us all, and then be transformed in turn, and that too will change, ad infinitum. And that as well, ad infinitum.”

——“Think about them: the waves of change and alteration, endlessly breaking. And see our brief mortality for what it is.”

“Consider the lives led once by others, long ago, the lives led by others after you, the lives led even now, in foreign lands. How many people don’t even know your name. How many will soon have forgotten it. How many offer you praise now—and tomorrow, perhaps, contempt. —That to be remembered is worthless. Like fame. Like everything.”

“All that you see will soon have vanished, and those who see it vanish will vanish themselves, and the ones who reached old age have no advantage over the untimely dead.”

“To decompose is to be recomposed.—That’s what nature does, endlessly..”

“To my soul: 

-Are you every going to achieve goodness? Wholeness. Ever be fulfilled, ever stop desiring-lusting and longing for people and things to enjoy? Or for more time to enjoy them? Or for some other place or country—a more temperate clime? Or for people easier to get along with?  

—And instead be satisfied with what you have, and accept the present—all of it.  And convince yourself that everything is the gift of the gods, that things are good and always will be, whatever they decide and have in store for the preservation of that perfect entity—good and just and beautiful, creating all things, connecting and embracing them, and gathering in their separated fragments to create more like them.

Blaming no one.”

“He has stripped away his body and—realizing that at some point soon he will have to abandon mankind and leave all this behind—has dedicated himself to serving justice in all he does, and nature in all that happens.  

What people say or think about him, or how they treat him, isn’t something he worries about.  Only these two questions: Is what he’s doing now the right thing to be doing? Does he accept and welcome what he’s been assigned?  

He has stripped away all other occupations, all other tasks. He wants only to travel a straight path, to God.”

“Nature gives and nature takes away. Anyone with sense and humility will tell her, ‘give and take as you please,’ not out of defiance, but out of obedience and goodwill.”

“Continual awareness of all time and space, of the size and life span of the things around us. A grape seed in infinite space.”

“Everything was born to die.”

“When you lose your temper or even feel irritated-remember that human life is very short.”

“Where are all those people now?

—Nowhere…or wherever.

That way you’ll see human life for what it is. Smoke. Nothing. Especially when you recall that once things alter they cease to exist through all the endless years to come.

—Then why such turmoil?? To live your brief life rightly, isn’t that enough?”

“The raw material you’re missing, the opportunities…What is any of this but training—training for your logos, in life observed accurately, scientifically.

—So keep at it, until it’s fully digested—As a blazing fire takes whatever you throw on it, and makes it light and flame.”

“Remember how brief is the attentiveness required. And then our lives will end.”

Amor Fati

“Leaves that the wind drives earthward; such are the generations of men. -Your children, leaves. Leaves applauding loyally and heaping praise upon you, or turning around and calling down curses, sneering and mocking from a safe distance.

A glorious reputation handed down by leaves. All of these ‘spring up in springtime’ and the wind blows them all away. And the tree puts forth others to replace them.  

None of us have much time. And yet you act as if things were eternal—the way you fear and long for them.”

“But intelligence is uniquely drawn toward what is akin to it, and joins with it inseparably, in shared awareness.”

“What is it you want? To keep on breathing? What about your feelings? Desiring? Growing? Ceasing to grow?  Using your voice? Thinking? Which of them seems worth having?

—But if you can do without them all, then continue to follow the logos and God. To the end. To prize those other things—to grieve because death deprives us of them—is an obstacle.”

“The fraction of infinity, of that vast abyss of time, allotted to each of us.  Absorbed in an instant into eternity. —The fraction of all substance, and all spirit. —The fraction of the whole earth you crawl about on. —Keep all that in mind, and don’t treat anything as important except doing what your nature demands, and accepting what nature send you.”

“How the mind conducts itself. It all depends on that. All the rest is within its power, or beyond its control—corpses and smoke.”

“And to be sent away from it (life) not by a tyrant or a dishonest judge, but by Nature, who first invited you in—why is that so terrible?”

“Like the impresario ringing down the curtain on an actor: “But I’ve only gotten through three acts…!” Yes. This will be a drama in three acts, the length fixed by the power that directed your creation, and now directs your dissolution. Neither was yours to determine. So make your exit with grace—the same grace shown to you.”

Interesting Side Note: To avoid the public schools: Roman Aristocrats normally preferred to have their sons educated by private tutors who were considered more reliable than the professional schoolmasters who taught all comers for a fee.

^^I still find this to be a smart thing to do in today’s society. Public schools spend more time managing students than teaching them…To find a solution for the issues in the education system…Anyone have solutions?

04 be content with what you are ma

5) 19 Best Quotes from Meditations

“The despicable phoniness of people who say, ‘listen, I’m going to level with you here.’ What does that mean?? It shouldn’t even need to be said. It should be obvious—written in block letters on your forehead.  It should be audible in your voice, visible in your eyes, like a lover who looks into your face, and takes in the whole story at a glance.  A straightforward honest person should be like someone who stinks: when you’re in the same room with him, you know it.  But false straightforwardness is like a knife in the back. False friendship is the worst.  Avoid it at all costs. If you’re honest and straightforward and mean well, it should show in your eyes. It should be unmistakable.”

“I can control my thoughts as necessary; then how can I be troubled?  What is outside my mind means nothing to it. Absorb that lesson and your feet stand firm.”

“My city and state are Rome-as Antoninus. But as a human being? The world. So for me, ‘good’ can only mean what’s good for both communities.”

“To love only what happens, what was destined. No greater harmony.”

“Have you ever seen a served hand or foot, or a decapitated head, just lying somewhere far away from the body it belonged to?? —That’s what we do to ourselves—or try to—when we rebel against what happens to us, when we segregate ourselves..or when we do something selfish. You have one advantage here: you can reattach yourself.”

“The mind in itself has no needs, except for those it creates itself. Is undisturbed, except for its own disturbances. Knows no obstructions, except those from within.”

“If the problem is you’re not doing something you think you should be doing, why not just do it?”

“Beautiful things of any kind are beautiful in themselves and sufficient to themselves. Praise is extraneous. The object of praise remains what it was—no better and no worse.—Is an emerald suddenly flawed if no one admires it?”

“Do not pursue pleasure as good and flee from pain as if it is evil—that is blasphemous. To privilege pleasure over pain, life over death, fame over anonymity—is clearly blasphemous. NATURE doesn’t do those things.”

“Pride is a master of deception: when you think you’re occupied in the weightiest business, thats when he has you in his spell.”

“Stop whatever you’re doing for a moment and ask yourself: Am I afraid of death because I won’t be able to do this anymore?” (Think about your 9-5 job—if you hate it, why do you fear death? Because you want to continue working at a job you hate? Want to keep living an unhappy life?…)

“Don’t let your imagination be crushed by life as a whole. Don’t try to picture everything bad that could possibly happen. Stick with the situation at hand, and ask, ‘why is this so unbearable?  Why can’t I endure it?’  You’ll be embarrassed to answer.”

“Keep in mind that when the mind detaches itself and realizes its own nature, it no longer has anything to do with ordinary life-the rough & the smooth.”

“Leaves that the wind drives earthward; such are the generations of men. —Your children, leaves. Leaves applauding loyally and heaping praise upon you, or turning around and calling down curses, sneering and mocking from a safe distance. A glorious reputation handed down by leaves. All of these ‘spring up in springtime’ and the wind blows them all away. And the tree puts forth others to replace them.  None of us have much time. And yet you act as if things were eternal—the way you fear and long for them.”

That kindness is invincible, provided it’s sincere—not ironic or an act. What can even the most vicious person do if you keep treating him with kindness and gently set him straight—if you get the chance—correcting him cheerfully at the exact moment that he’s trying to do you harm…

‘No, no my friend. That isn’t what were here for. It isn’t me who’s harmed by that.  It’s you.’ And show him gently without pointing fingers that it’s so.”

“If you don’t have a consistent goal in life, you can’t live it in a consistent way.—Unhelpful unless you specify a goal.”

“If you direct your energies toward a common goal for all of mankind, your actions will be consistent, and so will you.”

“Things are wrapped in such a veil of mystery that many good philosophers have found it impossible to make sense of them. Even the stoics have trouble.  Any assessment we make is subject to alteration—just as we are ourselves.”

“People ask, have you ever seen the gods you worship?  How can you be sure they exist?Answers——Just look around….I’ve never seen my soul either, and yet I revere it—I Know they exist because I’ve felt their power over and over.”

You can buy the book for $4.00 from Amazon here if you would like! Please share if you think this summary can impact others to live their best life!

2 Ideas & 15+ Techniques to Help you Achieve a Clear Quiet Mind

“Our biggest mistake is that how we, as an individual, sees things, is the way life is. That’s not true. That’s one perspective out of billions of people on a planet in the universe. How could what you experience be true for everyone? That’s just ignorant to think that way.”

 

This summary & book (Clear Quiet Mind by Kevin Schoeninger) are guides for those who are looking for ways to attain a deeper inner peace, leading you to a more fulfilled life—being more happy, healthy, loving and wealthy.

All aspects of your life benefit from inner peace.

I highlight two main ideas from the book and within those sections I include many “how-to’s” and techniques that when practiced can help you obtain peace of mind and better life experiences. 

You don’t need to read the sections in any specific order—if there is a section that you think will help you most then go to that one first!

Table of Contents for this Summary:

1) Main Idea Number 1 —The way you perceive & think about Reality is unique and NOT how Reality actually is (Solution=Objective Thinking)

         1a) Perception in Politics

2) How to Take on an Objective Perspective

         1) Recognize & Accept that your personal perspective has been influenced & shaped by your environment throughout your upbringing

         2) THINK about specific experiences you would like to have more of, and then write them down

         3) Technique—Mental Rehearsal

         4) Technique—Making Conscious Turnarounds

         5) Write down small actionable tasks you can do to get closer to experiencing things you want

         6) Focus on what you are Thankful For

         7) Practice Self-Observation

8) 5 ways To Practice Healthy Detachments

         8a) Observe what you are doing from a place above and behind your head (The First Seat of Consciousness)

         8b) Laugh at yourself (this is one of my personal favorites)

         8c) Take a walk, exercise, change your posture, and move your energy

         8d) Journal

         8e) Detachment Drill

9) —Big Idea Number 2 — Life Is Communicating With You

         9a) Techniques & How To’s on Listening to Life

10) 7 More Techniques to Help you Live your Best Life

         11) Technique For Redirecting Thoughts: Mental Pause

         12) Mental Approach For Change: Take full responsibility

         13) Technique—Remind self of affirmations

         14) The Ultimate Release Technique: Forgiveness

         15) Technique: Rewriting the Past Technique

         16) Technique: Inner Smiling

         17) Mental Technique: Viewing tough times as opportunities

18) More Quotes

 

Kevin explains how peace of mind does NOT come from external circumstances; it is something to be had by practicing techniques (written throughout this post), which when practiced and applied to your life can help you have more of the life experiences you truly want.

Kevin dives deep into the human psyche throughout the book by using what he has learned in over 35 years of learning & teaching multiple fields of Mind-Body Training (Life Coach, Qigong Meditation Instructor and Reiki Master Teacher). He also has his Master’s Degree in Philosophy.

I have done my best to condense the almost 200 page book into an outline of what I think will best help you begin living a more peaceful life today…

..I can confidently say that if you take time out of your busy day to patiently practice some of these techniques, you will recognize yourself having less worries & truly enjoying more of the day-to-day tasks that you previously found to be tedious. 

If you’d like, you can buy the book here on Amazon.

Enjoy.

Main Idea Number 1—

The way you perceive & think about Reality is unique and NOT how Reality actually is.

We all perceive & think about reality in our own different & unique way.

The quote at the very beginning of this article talks about how our personal, narrow-minded thinking can limit our life experiences and therefore our happiness.

What is the solution?

Practicing Objective Thinking.

When you aren’t able to understand why a person does what they do, you are looking at life through your own personal lens and not allowing yourself to view life through their lens.

Our limiting thoughts become our idea of who we are, and what reality is, but our thoughts can not represent reality in an accurate way.

1a

Perception in Politics

A great example of this is in observing Politics. Politicians learn to speak confidently even if they are lying. They usually try to get people on “their side” and make “the other side” look bad. Instead of being objective and trying to truly see how they can help their community, country and world, they create an us against them mentality and only small and usually futile tasks are achieved. —This is not all politicians, but it seems to be a trend.

Can we one day genuinely cooperate & work together? Can we actually resolve negative situations?

*A way to resolve this is to take on the mindset of not viewing others’ opinions as ‘wrong,’ but just as different.*

Here are some quotes from Kevin that will help you begin taking on a more objective perspective:

“We believe that the way we think about things is the way things are—and if someone else thinks differently, we believe they are flat wrong. This leads to inner tension and outer conflict. It keeps us from expressing ourselves articulately and from working well with others.” (154)

“What if, instead of points of view being right or wrong, every point of view simply shows us some aspect of reality?” (154)

“What if we begin with each person sharing what is important to them, while the other people listen and ask questions to better understand where the one speaking is coming from? Everyone can then share their points of view with reference to the points made by previous speakers.” (154)

“What if our goal is not ‘Being Right!’ But, instead, coming to mutual understandings and solutions that honor each other’s perspectives?” (155)

“How might your discussions be if you start with these basic insights?:

1—Every point of view has something to show us.

2—No perspective contains the whole truth.”

“Once you let go of the need to be right, you can open to a much wider range of insight and information. You gain a deeper compassion for yourself and others.” (158)

How To Take On An Objective Perspective:

1

Recognize & Accept that your personal perspective has been influenced & shaped by your environment throughout your upbringing.

“Perspective is like a lens that offers a specific view of the world. It can be a collection of almost any number of preconceptions, expectations, thoughts, feelings, beliefs, desires, needs, moods, relationships, memories, physical sensations, and external circumstances which form your personal meaning context at a specific moment in time.” (11)

“Studies have shown that 90% of error in thinking is due to error in perception. If you can change your perception you can change your emotion and this can lead to new ideas.” Edward de Bono

Here are some questions that can show you how your perspective has been influenced by your environment. Answering these questions can help you gain a new perspective and lead you to living your best life on purpose:

What has been the result of living from this perspective?

Am I living a life I desire?

Have I chosen to surround myself with supportive people?

Practicing objective techniques (Below) can help you live a life you love.

Your actions are a result of your thinking, and if your thinking has been heavily influenced by your environment then how do you know you truly think for yourself?

You don’t need to be happy all the time—there are ups and downs in everyones’ lives—but you are the only person who can really know if you are living your best life.

Living as a product of one’s environment is easy, it takes little effort. Know that you have to put some effort into opening your mind to new perspectives and taking control of your life.

“What you focus on determines what appears before you. How you focus determines your relationship to what happens. Why you focus determines your energy, inspiration, actions, and results. And your conscious choice of focus determines the quality of your life and interactions with others.” (14)

Ask yourself, ‘What am I focusing on at this moment?’ Then ask, ‘What happens when I focus on this?’” (15)

**When we have any experience, the primary mistake we all make is to think that ‘the way we experience things is the way things are.’ … We absorb those beliefs, attach to them, identify with them, and live from them as if they are true, as if they accurately represent Reality. We then tend to think these beliefs will always be true and continue to act in alignment with them. Then, in turn, produces results in our lives that reinforce those beliefs.” (19-20)

Kevin talks about how when we live with our limiting beliefs we quickly tend to judge ourselves and others: 

“We see ourselves and others conditionally. Only if people behave in certain ways, have certain preferences, or conform to certain beliefs and values, are they worthy of being loved, cared for, and rewarded. Otherwise, they are excluded or punished.” (20)

“Instead of asking ‘what is the right way to look at things?’ Ask ‘what does this perspective show us?’

‘What does it focus on and highlight?’

‘What does it reveal?’

‘What is the result of looking at this situation this way?’ (22)

2

THINK about specific experiences you would like to have more of, and then write them down (Technique-Mental Rehearsal)

“Is there anything you hope or wish for but haven’t been able to do, be, or have? A limiting belief is hiding there.” (21)

Many people automatically focus on negative results, which makes them more likely to have negative experiences. When you are thinking about an experience you do NOT want to have Kevin says you should think about positive alternatives and make a new choice that will lead to a better experience—(Technique-Making Conscious Turnarounds).

 

3

TECHNIQUE—MENTAL REHEARSAL 

(165-170)

“The purpose of mental rehearsal is to consciously use your imagination to pave the way for the experiences you desire and to test options that might provide these experiences.”

How to Practice Mental Rehearsals:

First, define an experience you’d like to have and imagine any important details of this experience.

Second, in your imagination step into the scene so it surrounds you. Notice what it feels like to live in this experience.

Third test some potential options that might give you this experience and notice how they make you feel.”

Take back control of your life. Ask these questions:

“Is it possible to let others have their feelings and opinions without allowing them to determine what you think and feel? Can you let go of allowing the opinions of others to control you? Is it possible to stand strong for what you want in the face of criticism?”

Also “Write down any obstacles or objections to the option you are considering and how you might handle them.”

“To summarize mental rehearsal, the key is to define and imagine your desired experience in full sensory detail, step into it as if you are living it, and notice how it feels.”

 

4

TECHNIQUE—MAKING CONSCIOUS TURNAROUNDS

“When you are frustrated, sad, angry, or depressed, what do you do? Are you at the mercy of these feelings? Do they make you think you’ll never have what you really want and never be who you want to be?” (173)

Conscious Turnarounds help you empower yourself. 

How to have a conscious turnaround:

(174-180)

“Be real about what you are feelings and the thoughts that stroke this feeling. Don’t suppress it.”

See if you can observe all this without judging yourself as good or bad. Use your skills of mindfulness, acceptance, and detachment.” (Mindfulness, acceptance & Detachment are discussed in Step 5).

“Ask yourself “When did I start thinking and feeling this way? What event set these thoughts and feeling in motion?”

“Have you thought this way your whole life? Or did a specific event or series of events set this mood in motion? Most recently, what prompted you to think, feel, and act this way?”

“This experience does not represent the way things are, it’s just how you think things are.”

“Perhaps there are other ways of thinking, which would feel different, lead you to act differently, and create different results?”

Remind yourself of your limiting perspective. Think about experiences you want to have and welcome those new possibilities.

“Ask yourself, “If anything is possible now, what would I like to have happen?”

“Even if you’re not convinced that you can think, feel, and act differently, what if you could? Even if you’re not convinced you can have different results in your life, what if it is possible? What happens when you act as if things can change?”

…“Once you crack open the door of what if, and allow in even a silver of light or a wisp of fresh air, that sets the stage for new thoughts, feelings, actions, and results to appear before you. What might these be?”

“Ask, ‘What is one, small, very doable action I can take to move in this direction, to have a taste of this experience?” (This is Step 3, below)

As you ask these questions and take action you become an intentional actor in your life instead of a victim of circumstances. Continuing to view yourself as a victim creates all kinds of anxieties and worries. Kevin says that conscious action is a cure:

“Stepping into conscious intentional action is the key to transforming your anxiety into excitement, anger and judgment into loving acceptance of yourself and others, depression into inspiration, doubt into confidence, and fear into faith.”

If this were easy everyone would do it. If it were easy to let go of how you think things are, we would all do it. It can be difficult because our thinking has been conditioned and reinforced throughout our lives. The more you practice letting go of how you think things are, the more you will take on new perspectives and allow for better life experiences.

“Your thoughts, feelings, actions, and results form a perspective through which you perceive yourself, others, and Life.”

 

5

Write down small actionable tasks you can do to get closer to experiencing things you want

Example—After writing down specific experiences you would like to have more of, such as “I would like to work from home and travel, living on a beach in _(fill in the blank)_,” some small actionable tasks to help you experience that are: 

—Think about a subject or subjects that you are knowledgeable in. Write them down.

—Look up stay at home jobs in that field & look up the top influencers in that field.

—Read the top books(find at least 3 specific books) in your field of interest.

—Continually seeking out opportunities that would allow you to work from home.

*Never Stop Learning.

—Feel free to email me if you have a goal or goals and are having a difficult time thinking of actionable tasks to achieve it.

 

6

Focus on what you are thankful for

Think of at least 3 specific things instead of dwelling on something negative. This can quickly change your state of mind. Billionaire entrepreneur and coach Tony Robbins agrees and explains Here how to not just think about gratitude but feel and step into a grateful ‘state of being.’ He says that “Gratitude is the solution to anger and fear.”

 

7

Practice Self-Observation

Self-observation is your ability to adopt a ‘neutral perspective’ from which you can witness your thoughts, feelings, behaviors, and results as objectively and honestly as possible—without judging them as ‘good’ or ‘bad.’ As best as you can, you simply witness what is.” (29)

Practicing self-observation includes using techniques that stem from mindfulness, acceptance, and detachment.

Mindfulness is your ability to consciously place your attention on something and be ‘present with it.’ — You are present with your thoughts, feelings, behaviors, and results, moment by moment, without being caught up in and carried away by them. You are simply witnessing presence.” (30)

Acceptance is crucial because it enables you to look at yourself very clearly, instead of avoiding the truth because you don’t like what you see.”

With acceptance comes detachment: 

Detachment is separating yourself from your thoughts, feelings, behaviors, and results.

Kevin describes detachment with: “You separate who you are from the thoughts and feelings ‘you have,’ the actions ‘you take, and the results ‘you get.’  You are NOT your thoughts, feelings and actions, or the results you bring. You are the one who ‘has’ the experience.”

8

5 ways To Practice Healthy Detachments 

(57-61)

8a) Observe what you are doing from a place above and behind your head (The First Seat of Consciousness) 

The first seat of consciousness is letting go of our thoughts and any associations we have as we experience a place just above and behind our head.

“For a few moments, you let go and your awareness ‘diffuses,’ so you take in the ‘whole field’ of this page, yourself, and the space around you.”

Kevin introduces and explains how to practice this seat of consciousness HERE.

 

8b) Laugh at yourself (this is one of my personal favorites)

“We all take ourselves pretty seriously..” This is true.

* “There’s a simple antidote: see what’s funny about what you’re doing, thinking, or saying—or make it funny.”

“Can state what you’re thinking in a funny voice and really exaggerate it. This can work well with a limiting belief, a fear, or something you really want to be right about!!”

“Bottom line is to find something funny about what you’re doing or make it into something funny to take the edge off your seriousness and let go of how tightly you’re hanging onto your point of view.”

 

8c) Take a walk, exercise, change your posture, and move your energy

“Take a deep in-breath as you raise your arms overhead. 

“If you really need an attitude adjustment, try more vigorous exercise.”

 

8d) Journal 

“When you journal, try writing down exactly what you are thinking and feeling, without judgment, nonstop, until you feel you’ve gotten it all out.”

“When you’re done writing, you may want to rip up what you’ve written, or burn it, to symbolize that those thoughts and feelings have run their course.”

 

8e) Detachment Drill

“Detachment Drill is something you can say to yourself, over and over, to imprint the idea that you are not defined by your current perspective. When you realize that you are much more than anything you think, feel, and do or anything that happens to you—this helps you detach and let go.”

As you practice detachment techniques you will be able to realize that you are not your thoughts. Thoughts are only one aspect to any individual—they are not the whole individual. Who you truly are is beyond thoughts, which is hard to understand because as humans we are constantly thinking.

You are the universe experiencing itself through the perspective of the physical body you are in.

When you begin recognizing how your perspective is shaping your experiences, you will be able to better shape & change your perspective so that you are able to make choices that lead you to experiences you truly want to have.

“Keep in mind that your limiting perspective is not a solid, unchanging thing. It is more like a tendency, a preference, a habit, and one that isn’t giving you the results you desire.” (34)

Know that your limiting perspective is temporary and only thoughts that have been reinforced. It can be changed.

Many people are comfortable in their pain, so they hold on to their limiting perspectives:

“If you strongly identify with your limiting perspective, think it is a permanent quality that defines you, or think it is the ‘true and right way,’ to see things, you make it more real and substantial than it really is. It becomes negative force in your life and strongly determines the results you get.” (35)

So detachment is a lot about letting go of limiting perspectives so that you can have experiences you actually want to have.

When applying self-observation:

“You become a magnet for better experiences and discover that you have a lot more power to influence what happens than you thought. As a result of these experiences, you tend to feel more grateful and at ease no matter what happens.” (48)

 

9

—Big Idea Number 2 — 

Life Is Communicating With You

(117-137)

In this section you will find quotes & ideas that can help you understand that life is communicating with you. People who ignore what life is telling them usually aren’t happy for long, but if you truly learn to listen to life, happiness happens.

This life-force is “An invisible life-force that has come in many names through many religions. This Life-Force is the Divine Breath that animates and connects us all.”

We experience this life-force all the time but we just don’t usually recognize it.

“Have you ever felt the presence of someone who just walked into a room? Or have you felt uneasy or deeply relaxed when entering a room? Do you get a feeling about a person when you meet them, without even knowing anything about them?”

These energies are life communicating with you.

9a

Techniques & How To’s on Listening to Life:

Breathing is one of the best techniques for activating the life-force. Breathing is the most primary event happening in the present moment that is keeping you alive.”

To practice breathing, find a quiet place as you sit comfortably upright. Don’t try to force breathing, but focus on the sensations inside your body:

“Allow your mind to rest on any sensations that draw your attention. See if it’s possible to simply be aware of how your breathing presents itself, without trying to feel anything specific and without trying to make anything happen. Just pay attention and notice any sensations of breathing..”

“See if you can maintain an attitude of ‘waiting on your breath’ and ‘following it’ just as it is.”

“To help you, can mentally repeat ‘breathe In’ when inhaling, then ‘breathe out’ when exhaling.”

“Or can say ‘Re’ when inhaling then ‘lax’ when exhaling. Many people find an anchoring word or phrase is soothing and helps them focus.”

As you breathe, ‘feel that you’re welcoming the Universal Life-force into yourself as you inhale and imagine that you are breathing out feelings of appreciation and gratitude for this gift of life as you exhale.”

“What if you relax and trust the flow of life through you, rather than trying so hard to make things happen, because you believe it’s all up to you and you have to do it on your own?”

Letting go and trusting life will give you a more abundant, healthy and peaceful life.

As you begin listening more to life as it communicates to you, you will be able to welcome new possibilities into your life:

“This is a powerful gift of a clear quiet mind—the ability to receive intuitive insight and guidance….your mind is in a state in which intuitive wisdom naturally arises.”

“You can use your analytical mind to gather date, assess pros and cons, and weigh alternatives. Then once you’ve done this preliminary research, it’s time to set your intuitive mind to work.”

“What if you pick up on everything that is happening around you because you are, in fact, interacting with everything energetically? What if you are not aware of these interactions simply because these exchanges are invisible to your eyes and you have not tuned into and cultivated your ability to sense energy?”

“With practice, this type of information can become a source of profound guidance. Receiving this guidance brings a sense of magic and spiritual comfort to life. It gives you the feeling that everything is set up just the way it is meant to be—and that all is well.”

“A nice analogy here is to imagine your mind as the sky. When the sky is clear, it’s easy to see individual clouds floating by. If your mind’s sky is stormy, it’s a jumbled, swirling, confusing mass of information that can be overwhelming.”

“So the first step in discerning intuitive information is learning to clear and quiet your mind—To recognize where you’re coming from, let go of how you think things are, and return to your clear quiet mind.”

“In a nutshell, this is a matter of paying attention to what is happening in the present moment, noticing information in the many forms it might come to you, asking good questions about what you notice, and testing out the results and consequences in real life.”

“For example, Dr. Rossman, suggests that, if you become aware that you’re having heart trouble, you might imagine that your heart can speak to you. Ask it what it has to tell you, what it wants. If you have headaches, imagine that your head or brain can speak to you.What does it need in order not to hurt so much?”

“Good questions to ask: ‘What’s the message in this pain, anxiety, fear, irritation, or discomfort? What needs attention right now? What can I do about this?”

“A second way your subconscious speaks to you is through images. Do you notice any recurring scenes, scenarios, or images in your dreams? Do you notice the same images in your environment again and again? Recurring and attracting images can be signs that important information is available.

“Third notice signals in your environment. What is life showing you by what is happening to you? What do you hear others saying? What is life revealing about you by what is appearing around you?”

Journaling can help you put the pieces of this puzzle together. To figure out what life is telling you, write down everything that happens throughout your days—your thoughts, feelings, actions, experiences, etc.

“What if life is always guiding you to your next step? Imagine a possible step you could take.”

Again, Good questions to ask:

“What can I do about such and such?

What is the message in this experience?

What is important to know about ________?

What is my soul purpose in this situation?”

“Pay attention to insights arriving in your daily life, your dreams, and your interactions with others. You also might receive images or insights that don’t make clear sense at first, but, as you contemplate them more, they reveal new insights.”

“See if you can simply stay present with your inquiry, without rushing to have an answer. Allow it to resonate within you and imagine your inquiry sends out lines that connect with what you need to know right now.”

It’s important to stay present, open and aware without judging anything to really hear what life is telling you.

10

7 More Techniques to Help you Live your Best Life:

11

Technique For Redirecting Thoughts: Mental Pause

Kevin encourages readers to use the technique of a Mental Pause to redirect your negative thoughts to a better experience:

“Can be used in moments of tension, fear, anxiety, stress, and confusion…to practice mental pause, stop what you’re doing, take a time-out and insert a mental pause…. 

—Ask, “What am I afraid of at this moment? Notice the first thing that comes to mind.” 

—Ask “Is there anything I need to do about this? Does this relate to a painful situation from my past? If so, am I now ready and willing to let this fear go?”

“As you discover this deeper source of peace, you’ll gain a greater trust, faith, and belief in the benevolent grace of Life and be able to welcome new and better possibilities.” (52)

12

Mental Approach For Change: Take full responsibility

We know that the first step is to recognize the way you’re thinking. Now, take 100% responsibility for your perspective. Yes, our environment shapes us, but now that you know that it shapes you, it’s time for you to shape yourself.

“Only when you take full responsibility for how you are thinking about things are you able to let go of thoughts that no longer serve you.”

Lasting results come from inner work. 

“This inner work is not just for you, because, as you release your fear-based thoughts, stories, and beliefs, you add this ability to our collective consciousness.”

Detachment helps with this inner work—“Detachment is simply stepping outside your current perspective, so you can let go, gain new insight, and welcome new possibilities.” (57)

13

Technique—Remind self of affirmations:

—“I have thoughts and opinions, and I am more than these. I am a conscious observer who can entertain many different thoughts and choose the ones that work best at any given moment.”

—“I have emotions and feelings, and I am more than these. I can explore the energy and information in emotions to better understand myself and others.”

—“I have interests and desires, and I am more than these. I can use my interests and desires as information to steer me toward what I am here to do.”

—“I have a body, and I am more than a body. My body is just a vehicle in which my soul has experiences.” 

—“I have experiences, and I am more than these. I am a witnessing presence who can choose how I relate to whatever happens.”

“Repeat this sequence (affirmations above^^) out loud or in your mind until you notice a shift in your consciousness—until you’ve really detached from hanging onto any way you define yourself that limits you. Then, notice how you feel.” 

I loved chapter 7 so much that I wrote an article on this chapter alone. You can find out more on the Myth of Perfection HERE.

14

The Ultimate Release Technique: Forgiveness

What is true forgiveness? And how can you really forgive? Read Kevin’s impactful view on forgiveness below.

“Forgiveness is an essential technique for letting go of any experience that has an intense emotional charge.”

Kevin has a good perspective on forgiveness:

“Before we explore what it means to forgive and why it’s so effective, let’s dismiss two common misconceptions about forgiveness that may hold you back from it—

—1) That forgiveness is about letting a person who did something wrong ‘off the hook.’

—2) That forgiveness means you are weak or ‘giving in.’

“Forgiveness is primarily about the one doing the forgiving. Forgiveness is something you do to let go. It is something you do to stop allowing the past to intrude on the present.

“It is about letting go of being defined and controlled by something that happened in the past. You forgive so you can move on. Forgiveness is a step toward your own personal inner freedom.”

“Forgiveness is an act of strength. It is saying to yourself, ‘I will not be controlled by what happened to me in the past. I will not be a victim. I choose to let go, so I can move forward.’” 78

“Forgiveness may or may not be expressed to someone else. You don’t need to say: ‘I forgive you for _____’ you can forgive them for yourself as you say it to yourself.”

Many times people unintentionally hurt another person because of something going on inside of them. Practice not taking your pains personally:

“That doesn’t mean that what they did was right, or excusable, or in any way acceptable to you. They may have been completely misguided. However, what if what they did was an expression of where they were coming from at that moment—and that was about them.” 79

“What they did might have been a retaliation for something you did that was unfair, uncaring, dishonest, or harmful. Is there something you did, said, thought, or felt that played into what happened?”

Kevin also talks about the importance of forgiving yourself. He asks readers, “Is there something you need to forgive yourself for?”

“Forgiveness happens in layers over time — You’ll know when its been effective. You’ll feel an inner freedom that wasn’t there before. You may also sense a clearing in the relationship with you and the others involved.”

Forgiveness can be a process that takes time. It can take multiple efforts and progressive insights & results for real forgiveness to happen.

Doc Childre said “If you stop traveling down those pathways, they’ll soon give way to the new patterns you’re creating, but it takes repetition.”

How to Practice Forgiveness:

“Forgiveness, in our context, is letting go of anger, resentment, blame, or indignation toward yourself and others for perceived wrongdoing.” 80

You forgive not because what was done was OK, or in any way acceptable, but simply because forgiveness will help you to heal, move on, and journey forward. Regardless of the potential impact on others (which can be powerful), forgiveness of others and yourself is most important for what it does for you, the person doing the forgiving.” 80

It’s normal to feel resistance to forgiveness.

Kevin invites you to practice forgiveness using a meditative journaling process called “Rewriting the Past.” Rewriting the past helps you call to mind a past event and view it in a new healthier and objective perspective.

15

Technique: Rewriting the Past Technique

How to Rewrite the Past:

(80-87)

“Find yourself a quiet private environment and commit 20 minutes to do this. Turn off your phone.”

1) Begin by consciously relaxing

—Imagine your body parts completely relaxed. Feel them relaxed. “Take a few slow, deep breaths and feel the sensations of breathing inside your body. Each time you exhale, release any tension from your body with a deep sigh, ‘haaahhhh.’”

2) From this relaxed place, call to mind the past experience you would like to let go of and give it a name.

—Imagine where you were, who you were with, what happened, and how you felt. As you recall this event, accept whatever images, thoughts, or feelings arise.

“You had this experience, but you are more than this experience. It in no way defines who you are. You are a conscious presence who is more than any experiences you have had.

All feelings come and go. It’s OK. You’ll be fine. If you feel overwhelmed, take a few slow deep breaths to help you let go and come back to present-moment sensations in your body. 

3) Now shift to key components of the memory associated with this experience.

—Look back on the past event as objectively as possible, see it as a learning opportunity, forgive yourself and others, and, then, see the past in a new light.”

4) Forgive self for the part you played in this experience.

5) Observe self in new light. 

—Remember better moments/experiences with the people involved. Can you create a new memory in relation to this event in the light of self-compassion?

—Imagine and feel as if your whole body is filling with your breath. As you exhale, imagine and feel as if your whole body empties out.

—Other ways to rewrite the past include forgiving the other person or persons involved. Not because it was ok for them to do what they did, but for your healing.

Also see if it’s possible to remember better moments with the person or people involved.

Is it also possible to see this past experience as a learning opportunity? 

“Write down any insights about how this experience can help you be wiser or become a better person.”

Here is an idea of why we stress so much:

“We normally identify who we are with our body, our personality, our thoughts and feelings, what we believe, the roles we fulfill, and what we do. Because these aspects of our being are subject to change, decay, and death, we constantly try to make ourselves into something more substantial and secure. We are always striving to be, do, or have more. This fruitless pursuit keeps us in a perpetual state of stress.” (95)

Who is the “I” that is having the experience? It’s not your ego-it’s NOT who you think you are. Kevin calls this egoless state of mind your “clear quiet mind” (96)

This can help you prioritize: “What might you let go of because it’s not really that important? What might you choose to prioritize and focus on?” (107)

16

Technique: Inner Smiling

(109-114)

Inner smiling is also a great technique to create better experiences and a clear quiet mind for yourself.

“Inner Smiling is a powerful way to heal your heart, reduce stress, improve your health and immune response, stay calm in the midst of chaos grow stronger relationships, and find clear intuitive guidance.”

It’s “Focusing on your heart while you generate these ‘core heart feelings.’”

“Using appreciation, gratitude, love and trust within the space of your heart shifts you into a state of optimal function and healing.”

Step to help with inner smiling:

—Get relaxed, imagine your favorite place. (Example- sitting in sun in warmth) Feel yourself smile and smile and feel gratitude.

“Imagine you are breathing warm, positive, smiling energy in and out through your heart…As you breathe in, imagine and feel you are welcoming warm, positives smiling energy into your heart. Appreciate and feel grateful for this soothing energy.”

17

Mental Technique: Viewing tough times as opportunities

(141-150)

“What if these challenging moments are the ones that hold the greatest opportunity to break free from your habitual reactions? What if your most challenging struggles carry your greatest guidance and deepest connections?”

“Challenging emotions are portals to deeper insights and connections.”

“Doc Childre and Howard Martin of the HeartMath Institute describe the power of the heart: The heart’s electromagnetic field is by far the most powerful produced by the body; it’s approximately five thousand times greater in strength than the field produced by the brain, for example. The heart’s field not only permeates every cell in the body but also radiates outside of us; it can be measured up to eight to ten feet away with sensitive detectors called magnetometers.”

So remember that you have a limiting perspective. Don’t avoid your feelings or distract yourself. Limiting thoughts arise often. Once you recognize them you can move forward.

How you think things are are NOT the way things actually are. It’s just how things are for you.

“Place your attention in your heart, imagine you are breathing in and out through your heart, and allow your emotions to flow freely through you, rather than trying to stop them.”

Imagine yourself in a comfortable position. An ideal place. On a beach. A couch. Relaxing in a country you’d love to be in. A place that soothes and supports you.

Ask yourself what you need to do to move through this. What can you learn from this experience? How can you respond to this situation to move forward with meaning and purpose? Allow yourself to welcome new possibilities.

“Shrines of loved ones…We see them every day and remember that life is more than a few years in this body and we are always part of a larger spiritual family. The worries of life seem so much less scary from an Eternal perspective.”

18

More Quotes

If there are any quotes in this section that have already been written throughout the paper it is because repetition is a great way to learn. The more you hear something, the more you are likely to learn it.

Perspectives, just like subjects in schools, are learned, which means that you can change yours with practice.

“Meditation also taught me about the diversity in myself. I can have a whole host of different thoughts and feelings—and none of these define who I am. I can inhabit any number of roles and engage in any number of different activities, yet none of these define me. I am something other than the thoughts, feelings, roles, and behaviors in which I participate.” (157)

“I am simply one who has experience. Objectively speaking, I am “a place” in the Universal Field where “experiences happen.” Subjectively I am a witnessing presence who can step into and inhabit any perspective that I choose in order to experience a wide variety of possibilities.” (157)

“Personal flaws can be doorways to greater awareness, as well. When we approach them with mindfulness, acceptance, and detachment, our flaws give us perspectives that lead us to specific insights or to develop specific skills we wouldn’t have discovered otherwise.” (157)

“Our personal quirks give us unique perspectives that widen the world. They also give us more appreciation for the quirks of others.” (157)

“Instead of hunkering down and being scared, defensive, judgmental, and angry, we can accept the diverse parts of our own experience—including our own feelings of vulnerability. We understand that anger and judgment are defenses that protect these softer sides of ourselves.” (158)

“Underneath our anger and judgments are feelings of wanting to be loved, accepted, safe, and secure.” (158)

“You can live in many different worlds —and these worlds change moment by moment, depending on what you focus on and how you relate to it.” (162)

“Houses are a great metaphor for perspective. A perspective is a point of view you inhabit that enables certain experiences. Perspectives include thoughts, feelings, memories, actions, and habits that form a point of view. A point of view enables you to see certain things and not others. It gives you a focus that supports certain types of experiences.”162

“So when searching for a house, or making any decision, here are some good questions to ask yourself: ‘What experience do I want to have? And “What decision best supports this experience?” (162)

“As one who has experiences, as a witnessing presence, you can choose to inhabit any perspective.” (185)

Kevin encourages you to think that everything happens for the benefit of the whole life-source:

“I believe the challenges we are having right now on our planet are doing exactly this—pushing us to evolve. What if Life is calling us to expand and grow, to raise our consciousness to a new level?” (185)

“What if all these events are coming up to make us more of who we are here to be?” (186)

“In the face of these challenges, (what if we learned to ) ask more empowering questions:

“What is this experience trying to tell me? If life is set up to always guide me forward, what is this experience revealing? What is it calling forth from me? What do I want to see more of in the world? How can I participate in this? How can I make a positive difference in my own life—and share this with others?” (186)

“What do you feel inspired to do? How can you act on this today?” (186)

“When you engage in conscious, positive, intentional action—even a little every day—it changes how you feel about life. When you make inspired action a practice, you no longer feel like a victim of circumstances. You realize you are a conscious creator who can make a difference. You are here to play your part, to take on your unique role. In the light of this perspective, your actions take on a life of their own and they carry you, and all of us, forward to places we’ve never imagined possible!” (187)

“From the deep inner peace of your clear quiet mind an abiding appreciation and gratitude for the gift of each moment naturally arises—and you realize you can welcome any experience you choose!” (187)

 

As you begin to live with more of a clear quiet mind, you are able to view life through a lens of love, being able to live more of the experiences you truly want.

 

Continue practicing techniques that help you deepen your inner peace. Good luck & I hope the best for you on your journey!